Judge Nap: Jussie Smollett Could Face Years in Prison If Prosecutors 'Get Aggressive'
'Empire' actor accused of fabricating hate crime.
Judge Andrew Napolitano said "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett faces serious exposure to prison time for his alleged hate crime hoax.
Chicago authorities on Thursday laid out their case against Smollett, accusing the TV star of orchestrating two "bogus" hate crimes -- one involving an alleged attack, and one involving a threatening letter -- all in order to get a pay raise.
Following three weeks of mounting suspicions, Smollett, who is accused of filing a false police report about the Jan. 29 incident, was charged Wednesday with felony disorderly conduct.
On "America's Newsroom," Napolitano, Fox News' senior judicial analyst, said Smollett, 36, if convicted, faces up to three years in prison for that charge.
He explained that prosecutors, if they so choose, can treat each of Smollett's alleged lies as a separate offense.
"Filing the false report is an offense, lying to them to back it up the first time he met with them is a second offense, lying to them to back it up the second time he met with them," Napolitano said. "Sometimes they merge those into one charge, but if they really want to get aggressive with him, they'll file and get the grand jury to approve several against him, which expands his exposure in jail."
He added that Smollett could face another prosecution from the federal government for sending a racist and homophobic letter to himself at the Fox studio lot before the attack.
"If he mailed that threatening to himself by using the post office, he engaged in postal fraud. That's five to ten years in jail. That's three times what he's facing for filing a false report with the Chicago PD," Napolitano said.
Host Sandra Smith pointed out that Chicago -- which is already in the midst of a gun violence epidemic -- used extensive funds and resources investigating Smollett's alleged hoax.
"That's the harm that he caused to the government, and that's a very legitimate argument for them pursuing him aggressively," Napolitano said.
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