Home News Appellate court orders Jussie Smollett to be released from jail

Appellate court orders Jussie Smollett to be released from jail

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Jason Meisner

Chicago Tribune

Convicted actor Jussie Smollett has been ordered released from jail pending appeal of his 150-day sentence imposed last week for staging a hoax hate crime on himself.

The one-page order issued by the Illinois Appellate Court on Wednesday afternoon stated that Smollett was to be released from the Cook County Jail after signing a $150,000 recognizance bond, which would not require him to post any money.

The only explanation offered in the order was that Smollett has never been convicted of a violent offense and would have completed his sentence of incarceration well before his appeal is decided.

The order comes just two days after Smollett’s attorneys asked the appellate court to release the actor from jail while his appeal is pending, arguing that Smollett’s time in custody could put his mental and physical health at risk.

Smollett has been housed in protective custody since his sentencing Thursday, with cameras in his cell and an officer with a body-worn camera outside his door at all times, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office.

At his attorneys’ request, a judge ordered Smollett placed in Smollett will have no contact with other detainees, but can have time outside his cell to make phone calls and watch TV, the office has said.

Smollett was convicted of low-level felonies in December when a jury found that he had lied to police about being the victim of a hate crime attack. Prosecutors argued at sentencing that he denigrated real victims of hate crimes when he staged a phony assault on himself involving racial slurs, homophobic epithets and a noose.

Judge James Linn sentenced Smollett to 30 months of probation, with the first 150 days to be served in Cook County Jail. In addition, he must pay a $25,000 fine as well as $120,106 — the amount of restitution the city sought to pay for its overtime costs investigating the case, minus the $10,000 Smollett forfeited to the city when his first case was dropped.

Smollett declined to speak before sentencing, but after Linn handed down his decision, Smollett surprised the whole courtroom by standing up to proclaim his innocence.

“If I did this, then it means I stuck my fist in the fears of Black Americans in this country for over 400 years, and the fears of the LGBT community,” he said. “Your honor, I respect you, and I respect the jury, but I did not do this. And I am not suicidal, and if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself.”

jmeisner@chicagotribune.com

mcrepeau@chicagotribune.com

©2022 Chicago Tribune. Visit chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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