Jussie Smollett to be sentenced on March 10: what could happen

Former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Criminal Courts Building as the jury begins deliberation during his trial on December 8, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 08: Former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Criminal Courts Building as the jury begins deliberation during his trial on December 8, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Smollett is accused of lying to police when he reported that two masked men physically attacked him, yelling racist and anti-gay remarks near his Chicago home in 2019. Photo credit Scott Olson/Getty Images

Jussie Smollett will be sentenced on March 10 after he was convicted in December for falsely reporting he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in 2019, according to Fox News Digital.

There will also be a status hearing on Jan. 27.

The actor was found guilty on five of six counts of disorderly conduct. He was acquitted on the sixth count of lying to a detective weeks after he said he was attacked.

The conviction carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

In 2019, Smollett was charged with six counts of disorderly conduct after giving false statements to Chicago police when he said that two men attacked him due to his skin color and sexual orientation.

Because the 39-year-old was convicted of the lowest felony offense and has no prior felony offenses, some experts believe it would be surprising if Smollett were to be imprisoned.

“I’ve never seen a case like this where the person got jail time,” Nenye Uche, Smollett's lead lawyer, said following the conviction. “And he shouldn’t because he’s innocent.”

Daniel K. Webb, the special prosecutor who handled the case, has made it clear how serious he thought the case was and pointed to the social impact of faking a hate crime.

“It’s fair to say Mr. Smollett is not repentant at all,” Webb said. “And he doubled down during our trial. I will emphasize those matters as I should.”

He's acknowledged that these type of charges don't usually lead to jail time, but added that this is a different situation.

“There’s never been a case like this," Webb said. "I don’t know any case in Illinois that involves this criminal misconduct and deceiving police for weeks on end about a hate crime and then compounding it by lying to a jury.”

Smollett's attorneys have expressed their intention to appeal the verdict, and their confidence it will be successful.

"We are confident in our appellate system," Uche said. "We are confident in our Illinois Supreme Court, and we're confident that at the end of the day, what's out there in the news media and in the gossip forums are not going to stand a chance in court."

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