Actor Jussie Smollett was released from jail last night. The Illinois Appellate Court ruled he should be released after his legal team lodged appeals last week against his convictions.
Last week, Smollett, who is gay, was sentenced to 150 days behind bars and 30 months probation on five disorderly conduct charges related to reporting a hoax hate crime. With good behavior, he was expected to serve 75 days in prison.
His attorneys argued that he would likely have served his sentence by the time any appeal took place and should therefore be allowed out pending the outcome.
If an appeal fails, Smollett will likely be sent back to jail.
One of Smollett’s defense attorneys, Nenye Uche, said his client refused food during his six days in Cook County Jail and lived on nothing but iced water. He did not say why.
Talking to reporters last night, Uche voiced his opinion that Judge James Linn had treated Smollett harshly in sentencing him last week.
“There is no room for politics in our court system … Regardless of what you think about this case … the real question is, should Black men be walked into jail for a Class 4 felony? Shame on you if you think they should.”
The appeals court ordered Smollett’s release conditional on him posting “a personal recognizance bond (I Bond) in the amount of $150,000.” In Illinois, this means he does not have to put down money but must attend court hearings as required.
Smollett left jail, surrounded by security, at around 8pm local time last night. He did not take questions from reporters but got in a waiting SUV and was sped away.
Smollett was found guilty in December on five charges of felony disorderly conduct after making false reports about a hoax hate-crime attack in January 2019.
Jurors at his trial heard how Smollett had colluded with two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, to stage the attack. The brothers said he paid them $3,500. Smollett claimed the attackers yelled homophobic and racist slurs at him, doused him in a chemical bleach-like solution, and put a noose around his neck.
He has consistently denied faking the incident and maintains he’s the victim of a crime.
His attorney, Uche, posted a video to Smollett’s official instagram account yesterday to share the news of his release.
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