Jussie Smollett Vows if He Dies in Jail It’s Not Suicide

The former ’Empire’ star claims innocence, says ’I am not suicidal’ in bizarre courtroom rant

Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett threw a fit when he found out Thursday that his sentence for faking a hate crime against himself was 30 months felony probation, including 150 days in jail, not to mention restitution of more that $120,000—plus a $25,000 fine for making false reports to the police.

Speaking from the defense table immediately after sentencing, Smollett announced, “I would just like to say, your honor that I am not suicidal.” Smollett repeated the phrase, “I am not suicidal. I am not suicidal,” over and over, his voice louder each time. “I am innocent, and I am not suicidal.”

Raising his fist as he exited the court, Smollett shouted, “I am innocent! I could have said I was guilty a long time ago!”


Smollet seemed to fear that he could be fatally attacked by other inmates and have it made to look like a suicide—aka the Jeffrey Epstein theory.

“If anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself, and you must all know that,” he proclaimed.

The judge, who spoke for 30 minutes before pronouncing sentence, was not sympathetic, CNN reports.

“There’s a side of you that has this arrogance, and selfishness and narcissism that’s just disgraceful,” the judge said. “You’re not a victim of a racial hate crime, you’re not a victim of a homophobic hate crime. You’re just a charlatan pretending to be a victim of a hate crime, and that’s shameful.”

The actor—who is both Black and gay—told Chicago police in January 2019 that two men unknown to him attacked him, shouted racist and homophonic insults, poured bleach over him, and tied a noose around his neck. Police rushed to investigate the event as a hate crime, but soon found out that Smollett paid two brothers he knew from Empire to carry out the hoax in an effort to gin up publicity.

Smollett’s lawyers say they’re appealing the sentence. He is currently in protective custody at Cook County Jail.

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