Tina Knowles, the mother of superstar Beyonce, believes Jussie Smollett should be treated with “compassion” during his sentencing.
The actor was convicted of five counts of disorderly conduct for lying to Chicago police about being the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack near his home in downtown Chicago. The 39-year-old maintains his innocence, and his attorney has said he will appeal the verdict.
While the charges carry a possible sentence of three years behind bars, legal experts have said the former “Empire” star is unlikely to get prison time for the low-level felonies. Instead, they believe he’s more likely to be sentenced to probation and ordered to perform community service.
Knowles took to Instagram on Monday and posted a screenshot of an article about the case. It also cites the case of Amy Cooper, a white woman arrested last year for calling 911 on a Black birdwatcher in New York City’s Central Park.
Tina Knowles got candid about Jussie Smollett’s case with her 3.2 million followers on Instagram. (Getty Images)
Her criminal case was thrown out in February after completing a diversionary counseling program that prosecutors said was meant to educate her on the harm of her actions. Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said Manhattan prosecutors were satisfied with Cooper’s participation in the program and were not seeking to pursue the case any further.
“The article goes on to say both were wrong but Jussie faces possible prison time and Amy Cooper The woman who called the police and lied about the black man that was Bird watching in Central Park was trying to attack her,” captioned the 67-year-old.
“Leading to the potential arrest of the man where in the history of black men In Custody could have led to his death !!” she shared. “Amy Cooper got off with public service . We will see the outcome of this for this Black man . Will he get the same compassion as Amy Cooper?”
Knowles said that she’s not condoning Smollett’s actions. However, she wondered if his race will ultimately result in a harsher sentencing.
Tina Knowles is the mother of superstar Beyonce. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
“I am not condoning what Mr Smollet was found guilty of,” wrote the matriarch. “I am just asking will he get the same compassion and understanding of knowingly lying to police.”
She also cited Kyle Rittenhouse, the 18-year-old who was acquitted of all charges in November after testifying he acted in self-defense in the deadly Kenosha shootings. That verdict was met with anger and disappointment among those who saw Rittenhouse as a vigilante and a wannabe cop.
Rittenhouse was originally charged with homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangering for killing two men and wounding a third with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle in the summer of 2020 during a tumultuous night of protests over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white Kenosha police officer.
Rittenhouse, a then-17-year-old former police youth cadet, said that he went to Kenosha to protect property from rioters but that he came under attack and feared for his life. He is white, as were those he shot.
Actor Jussie Smollett maintains his innocence. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
“Kyle Rittenhouse walked free after killing two people because the jury had compassion ?” questioned Knowles.
Lawsuits that were on hold pending the outcome of the criminal case concerning Smollett may now move forward. They include a lawsuit the city of Chicago filed against Smollett to recoup over $130,000 it spent investigating what police initially believed was a terrible hate crime.
Judge James Linn set a post-trial hearing for Jan. 27 and said he would schedule Smollett’s sentencing at a later date.
As for Smollett, it’s unlikely he will kick off a successful Hollywood career anytime soon. After prosecutors said the alleged attack was a hoax, Smollett lost his role on “Empire.” He later told jurors, “I’ve lost my livelihood.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.