Legal experts predicted Friday that Jussie Smollett would be sentenced to less than a year in prison for launching a race-baited attack in Chicago — if he gets any time at all.
Cook County Judge James Lynn Wayne will likely consider Smollett to have lied on the stand and was motivated by self-promotion when serving the sentence, according to attorneys and a former Illinois judge.
“If it were me, I would have given him a taste of prison, sentencing him to 1,000 hours of community service a year,” former Illinois judge David Erickson told The Post.
“He can get up to three years, but I don’t think he will get much. If it comes to jail time, it will be a year or less.”
The 39-year-old former “Empire” actor was convicted Thursday of five offenses related to disorderly conduct for submitting a false police report alleging that he was attacked by two men named “f” and “Empire n”-r” in January 2019 .
“I think Judge Wayne will consider that he used racism and homophobia to promote his career,” Erickson said. “If you are going to make a harsher judgment on someone, you have to look at their motives.”
He added: “Why did he do that now, the question becomes in the judgment, especially with the hate crime.”
Erickson said the judge may also consider the 2007 DUI arrest in which Smollett lied to police and then defended not to challenge false identity theft, driving under the influence, and driving without a valid licence.
Terry Austin, a legal analyst and former New York trial attorney, predicted that the judge might set an example from Smollett.
“I think there’s a good chance he’s serving a prison sentence for wasting Chicago’s resources,” she said. “He lied many times to police officers and lied on the podium. I think the judge might also try to make an example of him.”
She added, “At the end of the day, he will likely have between one and three years of probation. And a $25,000 fine.”
But other experts, including Los Angeles criminal defense attorney and legal analyst Lou Shapiro, disagree. He said he was more likely to “reprimand” Smollett than to send him to prison.
“I don’t think he’s going to serve a prison sentence because he doesn’t have it [felony] “There was no violence or injury, and the victim is not an individual,” Shapiro said, noting that the victim is the city of Chicago.
“However, he is not helping himself the way he manages himself. Lying on the podium and then showing no remorse or humility after conviction will not be viewed favorably by the judge.” “[The judge] He is likely to scold and scold him.”
Chicago criminal defense attorney Tony Thedford predicted that Smollett would face penalties that did not include spending time behind bars.
“I very seriously doubt he will ever spend any time in prison,” he said. “I think he will probably get a fine. I think he will get a probation period and some form of community service.