Jussie Smollett’s sentencing is expected after the ‘Empire’ actor was convicted of lying to Chicago police about racial, homophobic attacks

CHICAGO — Actor Jussie Smollett is expected to return to court Thursday, where he will learn whether a judge will jail or allow him over his conviction of lying to police about a racist and homophobic attack he orchestrated will remain free .

Smollett, who is expected to continue to deny his role in the January 2019 staged attack, faces up to three years in prison for each of the five counts of disorderly conduct – the charge of lying to police – on which he was convicted . He was acquitted on the sixth count.

RELATED: Jussie Smollett Verdict: ‘Empire’ Actor Guilty of Improper Conduct; defense vows appeal

However, because Smollett doesn’t have an extensive criminal history and the conviction comes for a low-level nonviolent crime, experts don’t expect him to go to jail. The actor could be given a sentence of up to a year in county jail or, if the judge so wishes, be placed on probation and sentenced to some sort of community service.

Smollett’s lead attorney has said he will ask the judge to drop the charges. But judges rarely grant such requests. That means this could be the final chapter in an appealable criminal case that made international headlines when Smollett, who is black and gay, reported to police that two men wearing ski masks beat him and smacked him with racial slurs and homophobic slurs cursed a dark Chicago street and ran away.

WATCH: Legal expert comments on Smollett’s conviction

In December, Smollett was convicted in a trial that included testimony from two brothers, who told the jury that Smollett paid them to carry out the attack, gave them money for the ski masks and rope, instructed them to make a sling on the rope to sculpt, and then tells them exactly what to yell as they performed the fake attack.

Smollett, who knew the men from his work on the Chicago television show Empire, testified that he did not recognize them and that they were the men who attacked him. Smollett is given the opportunity to speak to the judge and he may repeat some of the things he told the jury during the trial about simply being a victim of a violent crime.

RELATED: Sole black juror at Jussie Smollett trial found case ‘sad’ and still wonders about motive

Smollett was able to tell the judge as he shared with the jury his extensive history of volunteering and giving to charity. He might also say that the fact that the case has left his career in tatters is punishment enough to avoid imprisonment.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Jussie Smollett’s sentencing is expected after the ‘Empire’ actor was convicted of lying to Chicago police about racial, homophobic attacks

Dais Johnston

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