Court Battles

Court orders Jussie Smollett released pending appeal

Richard Shotwell/ AP
In this May 20, 2016, file photo, actor and singer Jussie Smollett attends the “Empire” FYC Event in Los Angeles.

An Illinois appeals court on Wednesday ordered actor Jussie Smollett to be released from jail pending an appeal of his conviction for lying to police about what he called a racist and homophobic assault in 2019.

The Illinois Appellate Court also ordered Smollett to post a $150,000 bond, WGN9 in Chicago reported.

Last week, the former “Empire” actor was sentenced to 150 days in jail by a Cook County judge. The sentence included 30 months of probation and a $120,000 restitution to the city of Chicago.

Smollett, who has insisted on his innocence throughout his trial, is appealing the conviction. According to WGN9, Smollett’s attorneys argued to the appeals court the actor faces the danger of physical harm in Cook County Jail.

The one-page court order releasing Smollett said he has never been convicted of a violent offense and noted the actor’s sentence would finish before the appeals process, as his lawyers argued, the Chicago Tribune reported.

A Chicago jury found 39-year-old Smollett guilty in December on five counts of felony disorderly conduct for lying to police. 

Smollett, who is Black and gay, reported to police in 2019 that two men had tied a noose around his neck and shouted racist and homophobic comments.

Prosecutors painted a different picture at trial.

Attorneys argued that Smollett — potentially in an effort to gain more publicity — hired two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, to stage a fake attack against him.

Tags Chicago Court order Illinois Jussie Smollett
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