US actor Jussie Smollett has been released from prison after six nights behind bars after an appeals court agreed with his lawyers that he should be released pending an appeal on charges of lying to police. about a racist and homophobic attack.
He, the former Empire actor, walked out of the Cook County Jail on Wednesday surrounded by security. He did not comment as he entered a waiting SUV, but his lawyers said Smollett, who is black and gay, was the target of a racist justice system and political players. .
The appeals court’s decision came after a Cook County judge last week sentenced Smollett to immediately begin a 150-day jail term on a disorderly charge of lying to police.
In an outburst shortly after the sentence was pronounced, Smollett declared his innocence and said: “I didn’t kill myself. And if anything happened to me when I got in there, I wouldn’t have done it to myself. And you all must know that.”
The Court of Appeal said Smollett could be released after posting a personal pledge of $150,000 (£114,000), meaning he didn’t have to put down the money but agreed to go to court on request. .
Smollett’s defense attorney, Nenye Uche, speaking to reporters outside the prison after Smollett’s departure, said the Smollett family was “excited with developments today”.
Mr. Uche said that during his time in prison, Smollett did not eat and only drink water, although he did not say why.
He criticized the special counsel’s decision to charge Smollett again after Cook State attorney Kim Foxx dropped the initial charges and he paid the fine. He also called Judge James Linn’s sentence excessive for a low-level felony, adding that the appeals court did not “play politics”.
“The real question is: Should black men be jailed for 4th degree felonies? Shame on you if you think they should,” Mr. Uche said.
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Special Counsel Dan Webb recommended that Smollett spend “an appropriate amount of time” in prison while sentencing.
“His conduct smeared a hate crime,” Mr. Webb said after the hearing. “His conduct will discourage others who are victims of hate crimes from continuing and reporting those crimes to law enforcement.”
Smollett’s attorneys have argued that he will have completed his sentence by the time the appeals process is complete and that Smollett could be in physical danger if he remains locked up in the Cook County Jail.
The special counsel’s office called the claim that Smollett’s health and safety was at risk “factually incorrect”, in response to his suggestion, noting that Smollett was in custody. guard at the prison.
The court’s decision marks the latest chapter in a bizarre story that began in January 2019 when Smollett reported to Chicago police that he was the victim of a racist and bizarre attack. marketed gay by two men wearing ski masks. The hunt for the attackers quickly turned into an investigation into Smollett himself and his arrest on allegations that he staged the attack and lied to police about it.
Authorities said Smollett paid two men he knew from work on the television show Empire to stage the attack. Prosecutors said he told them what he called racist and homophobic slurs, and shouted that Smollett was in “MAGA Country,” a reference to his campaign slogan during the campaign. Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
In December, a grand jury convicted Smollett of five felony counts of disorderly conduct – an allegation made when a person lied to police. He was acquitted on the sixth count.
Mr. Uche said the next step would be to file an appeal against the ruling.
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/us-actor-jussie-smollett-released-from-jail-during-appeal-41456600.html US actress Jussie Smollett released from prison on appeal