Smollett spent his first full day behind bars Friday after a judge sentenced him to 150 days, or five months, in prison for lying to police about a bogus hate crime he committed against himself.
Smollett’s attorney’s spokesperson said late Friday that his legal team has filed an emergency order requesting his release from prison during the appeals process. An appeals court judge ruled that prosecutors had five days to respond to the emergency request.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office said in a written statement that Smollett is now being held preventively in the Cook County Jail. This means that he is “being held in his own cell, which is monitored by the security cameras in the cell, and by officers who wear a body camera and are stationed at the entrance to the cell to ensure that Mr. Smollett is under close observation at all times.”
“He’s a high-profile defendant,” said ABC7 legal analyst Jill Soffer. “And if anyone is safe in prison, and the authorities want to make sure they are safe in prison, it’s him.”
As expected, Smollett’s defense attorney formally filed a notice of appeal on Friday. Soffer has been monitoring this case and likely sees no grounds for agreeing to the appeal.
“You see a strong case for appeal when a judge clearly excludes evidence that should have been accepted or accepted as evidence that should have been excluded,” Soffer said. “And I don’t see that happening here.”
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Thursday’s session ended in a big way as Smollett rose from his seat and declared his innocence and concern for his safety.
The 39-year-old was expressionless, and his family and others in the courtroom were shocked when Cook County Judge James Lane delivered the verdict.
“You will serve the first 150 days of your sentence in Cook County Jail, and that day will begin. Right here, now,” Judge Lane said.
During sentencing, Lane referred to the extensive and inclusive litigation of attorneys before, during and after trial. He emphasized that the ruling was based only on what was presented in court and not on the interest in this case.
“People seem to care about this,” Lynn said. “People care passionately for a variety of reasons in this case, and the reasons are many.” “And let me be clear: the sentence I gave and give to Mr. Smollett is in no way to assuage any public feelings.”
In considering the sentencing, Lane said that Smollett’s “extreme” premeditation to commit the crime was an aggravating factor. He also said that the actor had discredited the experiences of real hate crime victims, calling him a “charlatan” and a liar.
“You went up on the witness stand. You didn’t have to. You did it. You certainly had a right to it. But you committed hour after hour after hour of pure perjury,” said Lin.
Watch | Judge Lin scolds Jussie Smollett for more than 30 minutes
Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., who wrote a letter to Judge James Lane asking for leniency, called the sentence “excessive and unjustified” on Friday.
In a statement, Reverend Jackson also claims that the judge’s interpretation of the ruling “indicates judicial bias and Smollett’s personal assassination.”
“You have another side of you that is very arrogant and selfless, selfish and narcissistic,” Judge James Lane said to Smollett when sentencing.
“He did not do anything inherently wrong or violate any canon of morality or otherwise,” Soffer said. “Speak tough. Speak powerfully. We don’t usually hear words that strong from a judge, but he had a right to say so.”
But Soffer said he wouldn’t be surprised if Smollett’s legal team used the judge’s comments to fight the actor’s conviction and sentence.
“I don’t think that kind of argument leads them anywhere,” Soffer said. “The words were powerful, but not so unrestrained and unrestrained that they cast doubt on the judge’s independence or impartiality.”
While in prison, Smollett also began 30 months of probation in addition to being ordered to pay more than $120,000 in damages to the City of Chicago and a $25,000 fine.
The city has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the cost of investigating Smollett’s hoax hate crime amounted to $130,000.
Although the actor was ordered to pay compensation as part of his criminal sentence yesterday, a spokeswoman for the City of Chicago Law Department said Friday: “The city will consider its options in light of Judge Lane’s sentencing order. The Department of Law has no further comment as this matter does not It is still under litigation.”
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The verdict came three months after Smollett was found guilty of five counts of felony disorderly conduct for lying to Chicago police.
“I didn’t think it would take this long, but the judge made it clear that he sees this crime as more than a small felony, he sees it as harming hate crime victims everywhere,” Soffer said.
Smollett requested that he be placed in protective custody and Lane signed an order requesting it, according to court documents filed after the hearing. The decision, though, is ultimately up to the sheriff’s office, which runs the prison and has a lot of leeway in how it manages a population of just over 6,000 detainees.
Smollett is being held in his own cell, which is monitored by CCTV and a camera-clad officer to ensure he is under close surveillance at all times, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
“Mr. Smollett is not being held in solitary confinement. The use of solitary confinement at the Cook County Jail was repealed in 2016, and any allegations that he is being held in this manner are false. Mr. Smollett is held in his cell alone, which is monitored by security cameras in the cell and by an officer wearing a body-worn camera He is stationed at the entrance to the cell to ensure that Mr. Smollett is under direct observation at all times. As with all persons in custody, Mr… Smollett is entitled to spend significant time outside his cell in the common areas of his class, where he is able to use the telephone watching television and interacting with staff.During these times outside of the cell other detainees will not be present in the common areas.These protocols are routinely used for individuals ordered to be placed in protective custody who may be at risk of harm due to the nature of their charges, occupation or noteworthy status. Safety and security of all detained individuals, including Mr. Smollett, is the Sheriff’s Office’s highest priority.”
The procedure is neither unexpected nor unusual. High-profile detainees and other at-risk detainees are usually separated from the general prison population.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Department is evaluating Smollett and where and how he must be housed while serving his sentence. Smollett would only likely serve half of the 150 days if he got credit for good behavior.
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