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Jussie Smollett Backers: No Prison Time Needed For Fake Hate Crime

Actor Jussie Smollett will be sentenced Thursday for staging a fake hate crime in Chicago, the New York Times reports. In the 2019 incident, Smollett solicited two brothers to give him bruises and put a noose around his neck while shouting slurs. The actor reported the fake attack to Chicago police, who searched for Smollett's attackers before they learned it was a hoax. After officers spent considerable time investigating the case, they are seeking $130,000 from Smollett through a criminal restitution order or a civil proceeding. The criminal charges against Smollett's can carry up to three years in prison. Some supporters of Smollett argue that he should receive no prison time. His advocates, who include Samuel L. Jackson, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP, have argued to the judge that the harm to Smollett's reputation is punishment enough. They highlight Smollett's involvement in social causes such as the Flint, Mi., water crisis.

Judge James Linn, will consider Smollett's criminal history, which includes a 2007 California conviction for driving under the influence without a license. Linn is also expected to rule on a motion for a retrial. One issue was the judge's statement that a previous homophobic comment made by one of the brothers Smollett hired was a "very collateral matter." Defense counsel maintained that this was evidence that the attack on Smollett was real and racially motivated. The motion also challenged jury selection, saying the prosecution used constitutionally impermissible methods of discrimination based on race. The jury ended up including only one black juror and one black alternate.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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