Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett is appealing his conviction in a hate crime hoax case
Lawyers for Jussie Smollett appealed his December 2021 conviction for fabricating a racist and homophobic attack on himself and then lying to Chicago police about it.
The former “Empire” actor, 40, was convicted of five counts of misconduct in December 2021.
On March 10, 2022, a Cook County judge sentenced Smollett to 150 days in jail and two years probation. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $25,000 and restitution of more than $120,000.
Smollett was released from prison six days later after an appeals court ruled he should be freed while his conviction was appealed. His lawyers are now seeking to prevent Smollett from returning to prison and completing his sentence.
In its appeal brief, Smollett’s legal team called for a new trial, alleging “clear and flagrant” misconduct by the Crown.
“Mr. Smollett’s constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial were denied by prosecutorial misconduct, including allegations that a defense witness was coerced into altering his statement,” the attorneys wrote. in the 102-page document.
In January 2019, the openly gay actor told Chicago police he was assaulted by two brothers, who hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him. He also said his alleged attackers put a rope around his neck.
Smollett, who is black, was later accused of paying the men to stage the attack.
At the December 2021 trial, the brothers said Smollett paid them $3,500 for the fake hate crime. Smollett called them “liars” and told the court “there was no hoax on [his] part.”
Before handing down the sentence, Judge James Linn called the actor’s actions “shameful” and a disservice to the city of Chicago, where real victims of hate crimes may be more hesitant to report them.
Linn also said he believed “Mr. Smollett received a fair trial.
Smollett’s attorneys were originally scheduled to file his appeal last August, but were granted five extensions to that deadline, according to Variety.