Criminal defense attorney predicts Smollett’s likely sentence after hate crime hoax conviction

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Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett was found guilty on five out of six felony charges Tuesday in Chicago, where he stood trial for staging a hate crime hoax.

A Cook County Circuit Court jury of six men and six women deliberated more than nine hours over two days before rendering the verdict, and Smollett will remain free on bond as he awaits sentencing, Fox News reported. Cook County Judge James Linn did not set a date for sentencing, but a presentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 27.

Former criminal defense attorney Bob Bianchi, author of “Hate Crime Hoax,” appeared on “Fox News at Night” and offered a prediction on what Smollett can expect for staging such a heinous attack.

“He could have been facing 15 in prison all the way down from probation so the judge has a lot of discretion, but here is what I think it’s going to happen,” he told host Shannon Bream. “It’s probably going to be somewhere near a three-year sentence that he is facing. And he got on that witness stand and he lied, and that’s going to a major aggravating factor in the judge’s mind.”

“And as a prosecutor, I’m sure they will argue, and as a judge I think it would be right, that you cannot let a guy enflame racial tensions like this, wasted police resources, deprecate those true victims of hate crimes we are now not going to believe as much. And essentially try to game the system,” Bianchi continued. “There has to be a message of deterrent here. So as a prosecutor, I certainly would be arguing for some jail time in the three-year range and I don’t think it’s unreasonable with this judge.

Cook County Judge James Linn did not set a date for sentencing, but scheduled a presentencing hearing for Jan. 27.

While Smollett insisted to the very end “there was no hoax on my part,” claiming the Nigerian brothers who testified that he paid them to carry out the attack in order to garner sympathetic media coverage were “liars,” he was found guilty of staging a racist, homophobic attack on himself and lying to police about it.

Each charge could carry up to three years in prison alone, although many expect him to be sentenced to probation and ordered to perform community service if found guilty. Meanwhile, his lead defense attorney, Nenye Uche, insisted that Smollett is “an innocent man” and was confident that they will win an appeal.

Special prosecutor Dan Webb had a different message to the media: “With the resounding verdict we just received from this jury after one day of deliberations in which they found Mr. Smollett guilty on virtually all charges of doing exactly what we said he did – reporting a fake crime to the Chicago Police Department as a real crime. That verdict was a resounding message by the jury that, in fact, Mr. Smollett did exactly what we said he did.”

CBS 2 Chicago Legal Analyst Irv Miller was skeptical of Smollett receiving significant time in prison, if any, despite the actor previously pleading no contest to charges he lied to police in 2007 by giving his brother’s name during a DUI arrest in California, according to the affiliate.

“So he’s not really a first-time offender. So when this case comes down to sentencing in a month or so from now, the judge is going to have a pre-sentence report by a probation officer, which lays out his entire background — the good stuff, the bad stuff — and decide whether or not he should get probation,” Miller explained. “And, frankly, under Illinois law, for a class 4 felony, there’s a presumption that he should get probation.”

Those who will not face any penalties are the litany of Democrats, beginning with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who perpetuated Smollett’s hate crime hoax from the very beginning, despite all the red flags around a fanciful tale about two people he described as white men wearing MAGA hats attacking him in downtown Chicago during a post-midnight Subway run,  shouting racial and homophobic slurs, pouring an unknown chemical substance, possibly bleach, on him and tying a noose around his neck. His alleged attackers supposedly yelled, “This is MAGA country!”

In downtown Chicago… here’s a sampling of the race mongering seen at the time:

As for race mongers, Rev. Al Sharpton, an MSNBC host, said “the guilty” in the Smollett attack “must face the maximum,” which is sure to prompt a hearty “amen” from many now that the person responsible for the attack has been convicted:

Tom Tillison


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