Jussie Smollett has been released on bond from jail pending an appeal against his conviction for staging a hate crime.
His release comes less than a week after being sentenced to 150 days in jail. The disgraced actor had an in-court outburst during his sentencing, claiming his innocence and declaring he was not suicidal.
Earlier this week, Jussie’s brother, Jocqui, said the actor was put in a psych ward during his short stint in jail.
Several Hollywood actors campaigned for Jussie’s release, including his former co-star Taraji P. Henson.
Jussie walks out of prison
Before sentencing, experts had predicted that Smollett would not be sent to prison because he had no criminal record, and the conviction was for a low-level, non-violent crime.
However, Judge James Linn, who presided over the case, admonished Smollett and criticized the actor for his lack of remorse.
Smollett was photographed and recorded following his release and made no comment as he left Cook County jail surrounded by security.
Special prosecutor Dan Webb recommended Smollett serve an “appropriate” amount of jail time and the maximum fines related to the crime.
“His conduct denigrated hate crimes,” Mr. Webb said after the hearing. “His conduct will discourage others who are victims of hate crimes from coming forward and reporting those crimes to law enforcement.”
Smollett’s lawyers launched an appeal and criticized how their client had been given jail time, pointing to a drug offense and gun possession cases in which Judge James Linn gave the defendants probation.
His Empire co-star Taraji P. Henson called for his release, arguing his punishment did not fit the crime.
The special prosecutor’s office rejected the notion that Jussie’s health and safety were at risk, stating that it was “incorrect” as Smollett was being held in protective custody at the jail.
What led to Jussie Smollet’s conviction?
Smollett was found guilty after an eight-day trial in which the Osundairo brothers testified that Smollett paid them to stage the attack near his home around 2 am in central Chicago.
Smollett claimed the attackers assaulted him, threw a noose around his neck yelled racist and homophobic slurs.
Chicago police raided the home of the Osundairo brothers and found records indicating Smollett had paid them $3,500.
In addition, evidence revealed they had purchased the rope found around Smollett’s neck at a hardware store, and security camera footage showed the brothers buying gloves, ski masks, and a red hat that investigators said was used in the attack.
Smollett lost his role in the hit series Empire and was removed from the last two episodes of its fifth season. The Fox television series ended on its sixth season in 2020.