Jussie Smollett will likely get less than a year of jail time, legal experts say – New York Post


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Jussie Smollett will probably be sentenced to less than a year behind bars for staging a race-baiting attack in Chicago — if he gets any time at all, legal experts predicted Friday. 

Cook County Judge James Linn Winn will likely consider that Smollett lied on the stand and was motivated by self-promotion when delivering a punishment, according to lawyers and a former Illinois judge.

“If it was me, I would give him a taste of jail time, and sentence him to 1,000 hours of community service in a year,” former Illinois Judge David Erickson told The Post.

“He can get up to three years, but I don’t think he’ll get that much. If it’s jail time, it will be a year or less.” 

The 39-year-old former “Empire” actor was found guilty Thursday of five counts of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report claiming he was attacked by two men who called him “”f—-t” and “Empire n—-r” in January 2019.

Jussie Smollett
Legal experts think Jussie Smollett isn’t likely to serve more than a year in prison if at all.

“I think Judge Winn will consider that he used racism and homophobia to promote his own career,” Erickson said. “If you’re going to give someone a harsher sentence, you have to look at his motivation.”

He added, “Why he did it now becomes the question in sentencing especially with a hate crime.”

The judge may also look at a 2007 DUI arrest in which Smollett lied to police then pleaded no-contest to false impersonation, driving under the influence, and driving without a valid license, Erickson  said.

Jussie Smollett
Jussie Smollett was found guilty Thursday of five counts of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police and essentially staging his own hate crime.
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Terri Austin, a legal analysis and former New York trial attorney, predicted the judge may make an example out of Smollett. 

“I think there is a good likelihood that he will do jail time because he wasted the resources of the city of Chicago,” she said. “He lied multiple times to police officers and lied on the stand. I think the judge may also try to make an example out of him.”

She added, “At the end of the day, he’s probably going to get between one and three years, and probation. And a $25,000 fine,” she said.

But other experts, including  Los Angeles-based criminal defense attorney and legal analyst Lou Shapiro, disagreed. He said the judge is more likely to “scold” Smollett than send him to prison.

Jussie Smollett
Legal analyst Terry Austin says there is a good chance Jussie Smollett is sent to prison, and that the judge may want to make an “example” of him.

“I don’t think he will do jail time because he has no [felony] record, there was no violence or injury involved, and the victim isn’t an individual,” Shapiro said, noting the victim is the city of Chicago.

“That being said, he’s not helping himself by the way he has been conducting himself. Lying on the stand and then showing no remorse or humility after the conviction isn’t going to be looked favorably upon by the judge,” he said. “[The judge] will likely admonish and scold him.”

Chicago criminal defense attorney Tony Thedford, predicted that Smollett will be hit with punishments that don’t include time behind bars.  

 “I doubt very seriously that he would do any jail time,” he said. “I believe that he will likely get a fine. I believe that he will get probation and some form of community service,” he said.

Jussie Smollett
LA criminal defense attorney Lou Shapiro says the judge is likely to be lenient with Jussie Smollett since he has no felony record.
Jussie Smollett
Chicago criminal defense attorney Tony Thedford says Jussie Smollett is likely to get off with a fine.

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