CHICAGO (AFP) – Actress Jussie Smollett is set to return to court Thursday, where he will learn whether a judge will order his imprisonment for his conviction of lying to police. of a racist and homophobic attack that he orchestrated himself or allowed him to remain free.
Smollett is expected to continue to deny his role in the orchestrated attack In January 2019, he faces up to three years in prison for each of the five counts of disorderly conduct – the charge of lying to the police – for which he was convicted. He was acquitted of the sixth count.
But since Smollett doesn’t have an extensive criminal history and a low-level nonviolent crime conviction, experts don’t expect he’ll be sent to prison. The representative can be required to serve for up to a year in the county jail or, if Cook County Judge James Lane chooses, place him on probation and order the performance of some form of community service.
The sheer scale and scope of the police investigation was a major part of the trial and is central to the $130,000 pending lawsuit the city brought against Smollett to recover the cost of police overtime, so a judge can also order the actor to pay a hefty amount of fine and compensation.
Smollett’s senior attorney said he would ask the judge to dismiss the charges before sentencing. But judges rarely agree to such suggestions. This means that this could be the last chapter In a criminal case, appealable, made international headlines when Smollett, who is black and gay, reported to police that two men in ski masks beat him, threw racist and anti-gay insults at him on a dark Chicago street and fled. .
In December, Smollett was convicted in a trial that included testimony from two brothers who told jurors that Smollett paid them to carry out the attack, gave them money to buy ski masks and rope, and ordered them to form the rope into a noose. Prosecutors said he told them he was yelling racist and anti-gay slurs, yelling that Smollett was in “MAGA Country,” a reference to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign slogan.
Smollett, who knew the men through his work on the TV show “Empire” which was filmed in Chicago, testified that he did not recognize them and did not know that they were the ones attacking him.
During the hearing, prosecutors and Smollett’s attorneys will have an opportunity to present witnesses and allow Smollett to testify. He could repeat some of the things he said to the jurors during the trial about how he was just a victim of a violent crime.
Smollett could also tell the judge when he told jurors about his long history of volunteering and donating to charitable causes. And he could say that the fact that the case left his career in disarray is enough punishment to avoid custody.
In contrast to the trial, Lane agreed to let the paparazzi and a television camera into the courthouse for the hearing – meaning that the audience would see and hear Smollett speaking in court for the first time.
Check out the full Associated Press coverage In the case of Josie Smollett.