Jussie Smollett, the actor who infamously concocted a fake racist and homophobic attack against himself and lied to police about it, lost his appeal Friday to have his conviction on disorderly conduct charges thrown out.
That decision, made by a panel of three appellate judges who voted 2-1 in favor of the conviction being upheld, means Smollett is once again on the hook to spend 150 days in prison—a sentence that was put on hold because of the appeal.
The alleged assault, which came at the peak of Smollett’s popularity as an actor on Empire, grabbed national headlines in January 2019. The ordeal quickly turned to scandal, however, after cops claimed the “assault” was a farce, orchestrated by Smollett to garner public sympathy and to boost his fame.
Smollett maintained his innocence throughout his trial, at one point eerily yelling in the courtroom that he wasn’t suicidal, insinuating that if he died in custody, it was because someone killed him.
A jury ultimately found Smollett guilty in 2021 on five counts of disorderly conduct related to his false police report for the hate crime hoax.
A Cook County judge sentenced Smollett to 150 days in jail, 30 months of probation, $120,106 in restitution to the City of Chicago, and ordered him to pay a $25,000 fine. Smollett spent six nights in jail before he was freed and had his sentence put on hold pending his appeal.
That prison time could be put on ice once again, however, if Smollett’s attorney, Holly Baird, appeals the most recent decision to the Illinois Supreme Court and the case is accepted. In an email to The Daily Beast, Baird said she plans to do just that.
“We wish to highlight that the decision was divided, with Justice Lyle offering a detailed analysis in favor of Smollett,” she said. “We are preparing to escalate this matter to the Illinois Supreme Court, armed with a substantial body of evidence.”
During the appeal process, Smollett’s attorneys argued the conviction violated his fifth amendment rights against double jeopardy, a legal protection in place to prevent someone from being punished twice for the same crime. They said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had previously dropped charges against Smollett in 2019, and that a special prosecutor couldn’t legally charge the actor again on the same accusations.
In the end, the appellate judges ruled in the special prosecutor’s favor, explaining in a 69-page decision that Smollett and his attorneys never struck a deal with prosecutors that said they couldn’t file future charges.
Outside the courtroom, TMZ reported in October that Smollett had entered a rehabilitation treatment facility after what his representative said had been “an extremely difficult past few years” for him.