CHICAGO — Representatives for Jussie Smollett told TMZ that the actor is in a rehab treatment facility amid his attempt to appeal a hate crime hoax conviction.
The entertainment media outlet reports that Smollett, 41, is in an outpatient program for substance abuse.
“Jussie has had an extremely difficult past few years,” the actor’s rep told TMZ. “He has quietly been working very hard for some time now and we are proud of him for taking these necessary steps.”
In 2021, Smollett was found guilty of five felony counts of disorderly conduct. Prosecutors sought to prove that the former ‘Empire’ actor paid two brothers to stage a racist and homophobic attack on him so that he could gain notoriety.
In 2022, 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 a $25,000 fine. He would ultimately spend six nights behind bars after an appellate court approved his request for bond pending appeal.
Last month, Smollett’s lawyers argued that the disorderly conduct convictions should be tossed, citing that anger and international media attention over the case led to properly dismissed charges being improperly restored.
“If Mr. Smollett’s convictions are allowed to stand, this case will set a dangerous precedent by giving prosecutors a second bite at the apple any time there is dissatisfaction with another prosecutor’s exercise of discretion,” the appeal stated.
Smollett has long maintained that he is innocent of staging the incident in Streeterville in January 2019.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.