Jussie Smollett Convicted: What's Next?

The discussion in the case of Jussie Smollett, the actor sentenced Thursday for falsely reporting being the victim of a racist and homo...

The discussion in the case of Jussie Smollett, the actor sentenced Thursday for falsely reporting being the victim of a racist and homophobic assault, turned to the question of whether the actor will be sentenced to a prison term when he is convicted in several weeks.

Daniel K. Webb, the special prosecutor who handled the case, said on Friday he had not yet decided what recommendation he would make to the judge, but again stressed how much he believed the matter was serious. Mr Webb has highlighted in several contexts the social damage caused by the faking of a hate crime, the waste of police resources devoted to the case and the consequences of lying to a jury, which found Mr Smollett guilty after passing seven hours on the witness stand standing near his account.

“It’s fair to say that Mr. Smollett is not at all repentant,” Mr. Webb said. “And he doubled in our trial. I will focus on these issues as they should.

But some experts said they would find it surprising if Mr Smollett was jailed because he was convicted of the lowest misdemeanor and has no previous felony convictions.

Mr Smollett’s lead lawyer Nenye Uche, a former prosecutor who said his client planned to appeal the verdict, echoed the sentiment on Thursday.

“I have never seen a case like this where the person has been given a prison term,” he said. “And he shouldn’t because he’s innocent.”

Mr. Smollett was convicted of five counts of misconduct, carrying a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Even Mr. Webb admitted that these charges generally do not result in judges jailing people.

But he said: “There has never been a case like this. I don’t know of any case in Illinois involving this criminal misconduct and cheating the police for weeks about a hate crime and then making it worse by lying to a jury.

Judge James B. Linn, who is presiding over the case, has the option of sentencing the accused to simple probation or a shorter jail term. He agreed to release Mr. Smollett on Thursday pending sentence.

“What I could see happening is probation with a ton of community service hours,” said Michael O’Meara, a criminal defense attorney who also worked as a prosecutor, “and just to prick it a little, maybe jail time. “

The judge will certainly take into account Mr. Smollett’s previous criminal offense, even though it dates back 14 years and is relatively minor. He was convicted in California of the offense of impaired driving, making false statements to the police and driving without a license. (Mr. Smollett did not plead any dispute.)

In this case, it was Mr Smollett who reported a crime, an attack by two assailants who he said beat him up, shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him, put a rope around his neck and threw a rope around his neck. poured bleach on her clothes early in the morning. mugging on a frosty day in 2019. But two brothers told police Mr Smollett ordered them to carry out the attack, and he was eventually charged by a grand jury with lying to police, a hoax that prosecutors argued had been orchestrated for advertising purposes.

In addition to his conviction, Mr. Smollett will soon face a lawsuit against him by the city of Chicago. In 2019, Chicago officials, unhappy with the amount of police work that went into the case, continued Mr. Smollett to recover more than $ 130,000 in costs, but it was put on hold until the resolution of the criminal case.

“The city intends to continue its legal action to hold Smollett accountable for his illegal actions,” Chicago city attorneys said in a statement Friday, “and to demand that he compensate the city for the charges incurred by the Chicago Police Department, which took its false allegations of harm seriously.

The verdict in the case drew reactions from people across the country and from all political walks of life on Friday.

Black Lives Matter Los Angeles co-founder Melina Abdullah told TMZ that Mr. Smollett still enjoys the full support of his organization. She said in a previous statement that she couldn’t believe the police about Mr. Smollett, whom she described as a “black man who has been courageously present, visible and vocal in the struggle for black freedom”.

David Axelrod, a political commentator with long-standing Chicago ties who was a senior adviser to former President Barack Obama, wrote on Twitter that Mr. Smollett had “inexcusably slandered our city to advance his career.” Ronna McDaniel, President of the Republican National Committee, and Mercedes Schlapp, Director of Strategic Communications at Trump White House, blame democratic politicians, including President Biden, for believing Mr. Smollett in the first place and delivering messages of support.

At a press conference on Friday, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, noted that Mr. Trump also called the attack “horrific” shortly after it happened. But she acknowledged that bogus hate crime charges “divert valuable police resources from important investigations” and “make it harder for real victims to come forward and be believed.”

Sarah Bahr contributed reporting. Kirsten Noyes contributed to the research.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Jussie Smollett Convicted: What's Next?
Jussie Smollett Convicted: What's Next?
Newsrust - US Top News
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