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Supporters of Jucy Smollett ask judge not to let him in jail before sentencing for hate fraud

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CHICAGO (CBS) – As actor Jucy Smollett prepares to be sentenced on Thursday for a conviction for organizing a hoax against himself out of hatred, many supporters have written letters asking the judge to be lenient with him and not let him out of jail.

As Charlie De Mar of CBS 2 reported, Smollett’s final performance will take center stage on Thursday afternoon. As he has done many times over the past three years, Smolett will do what could be his last walk through the halls of the George N. Leighton Criminal Court building to learn about the verdict.

But first his lawyers will try to convince the judge overturn his sentence or give him a new trial – a long-term request, which is usually made in criminal cases, but is rarely complied with.

In December, Cook Jurors Guess Smolet on Five of Six Hooliganism Chargeswhile acquitting him of the sixth charge. Prosecutors accused Smolet of staging a fake racist and homophobic attack on himself in January 2019 and then lying to police about it in an effort to advertise.

According to Charlie De Mar of CBS 2, one of the most important questions before Smolet’s sentencing on Thursday was whether he had decided to go to court, and whether he was remorseful and admitted to lying to police, a crime he had been convicted of. .

Charging with hooliganism is a 4th class crime, punishable by up to three years in prison. Smolet is free on bail pending sentencing, and many of Smolet’s supporters have written letters to Cook County Criminal Court Judge James Lin asking to consider Smolet’s probation or some other alternative to prison.

Among those asking Lynn to be lenient are NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, Rev. Jesse Jackson, actress Elfry Woodard and actor Samuel L. Jackson and his wife and fellow actress Lathanna Jackson.

“Jussie has already suffered. He has been insulted and disgraced in public opinion court. His professional reputation has been severely damaged. He has lost his career and lost his income, and there are a number of people relying on Jussie for financial support.” Wrote Rev. Jackson.

The letters focus on Smollett’s lack of criminal history, nonviolence of his conviction, his long history of volunteer work and charitable donations, and the impact of the case on his career.

“It would be an understatement to say that too much attention has been paid to Mr. Smolet’s case. This case does not involve drugs, theft, sex, property damage or physical harm to anyone but the defendant. Despite media attention, In essence, this case involves a low-level, non-violent crime. We urge the Court to keep this truth in mind when sentencing Mr Smolet, “Johnson wrote. “First of all, Mr. Smolet has a rich history of defending civil rights and charity. Mr. Smolet has personally donated more than half a million dollars to black organizations.”

Johnson also outlined a number of Smollett charities over the years, including the surprise of a 6-year-old double man with amputees using a wheelchair-accessible van, and helped raise $ 8 million for Bennett College, a women’s history black college and university that was on the verge of losing accreditation in 2018.

“In short, Mr Smolet has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to helping others. We believe that Mr. Smolet’s imprisonment will be extremely punitive and will have no purpose, “Johnson wrote. “Mr. Smolet does not and has never posed a threat to anyone. Therefore, we respectfully request that, assuming that the Court is inclined to sentence Mr. Smolet to anything other than a fine or probation, the Court will sentence Mr. Smolet to probation. term and obligatory public works “.

Reiterating his call for indulgence in Smolet, Woodard called Smolet “an exceptionally good man.”

“Some conscientious people turn to those who have no access after they have succeeded in their fields. Jussie has been a sympathetic presence and advocated for those who have no means since childhood. allowed him to bring his natural impulse to help in an even wider field of efficiency. Jussie kept his heart, wallet and his schedule wide open to those who suffer among us, “she wrote.

Supporters of Smolet also expressed concern for his safety if he was sent to prison.

“I am deeply concerned about the physical safety of a well-known, non-violent, black gay man with a Jewish heritage who may be imprisoned in the US prison system,” Rev. Jackson wrote.

CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller said it was unlikely that Smolett would be sentenced to a significant term of imprisonment, although he had not previously denied allegations that he lied to police, citing his brother’s name at the time of his arrest. California.

“So he’s not really an offender for the first time. So if this case comes to sentencing in a month or so, the judge will have a report before sentencing from a probation officer who will tell his whole story.” . – good things, bad things – and decide whether he should get a suspended sentence. And, frankly, under Illinois law, for a 4th class felony, there is a presumption that he should get a suspended sentence, “Miller said shortly after his conviction. Resin.

Unlike his trial, the public will be able to watch Smolet’s sentencing hearing if that happens, as Judge Lynn granted a request for cameras in court for consideration on Thursday.

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