CHICAGO – An Illinois appeals court upheld Jussie Smollett’s conviction for a staged hate crime in an opinion filed Friday. The actor, who is Black and gay, reported to Chicago Police that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two men wearing ski masks in January 2019. A jury previously found Smollett guilty on five of the six charges of disorderly conduct after a nearly two-week trial in 2021, Law Officer reported.
The appellate court decision on Friday was 2-1 to uphold Smollett’s conviction. Justice David Navarro and Justice Mary Ellen Coghlan agreed with the lower court’s findings, while Judge Freddrenna Lyle dissented, according to court documents obtained by Fox News Digital.
Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in jail following the conviction. He was also sentenced to 30 months felony probation, restitution to the city of Chicago in the amount of $120,106 and a fine of $25,000.
When Smollett was remanded to custody following his sentencing hearing March 10, 2022, he maintained his innocence — despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary — and defiant as he was escorted out of the courtroom, while declaring in a loud voice, “I did not do this, and I am not suicidal, and if anything happens to me when I go there, I did not do it to myself, and you must all know that.”
Smollet spent six days in custody before he was released pending the outcome of his appeal. His attorneys said they will now appeal his case to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Following the appellate court’s decision to uphold the conviction, Special Prosecutor Dan. K. Webb issued a statement, Fox reported.
“As the appellate court noted, Mr. Smollett ‘challenge[d] virtually every aspect of’ the prosecution, and the appellate court correctly rejected each and every one of those challenges,” Webb noted. “Today’s decision is a validation of Winston & Strawn’s tireless work on this matter and a resounding victory for justice. We are proud to have prevailed in a case that, we believe, can help restore the public’s confidence in the Cook County justice system.”
If the state Supreme Court decides to accept the case for review, and the actor’s conviction is not overturned, he will be required to serve out the balance of his 150-day jail sentence.