Jussie Smollett has been released from Cook County Jail pending the appeal of his conviction.
On 10 March, the former Empire actor was sentenced to 150 days behind bars and 30 months probation after a jury found him guilty of lying to police about being the victim of a racist, homophobic attack.
In 2019, he claimed 2 that masked men put a noose around his neck and shouted homophobic slurs as well as some Trump related rhetoric. The story did not add up after investigation however and it turned out Smollett had allegedly paid two brothers $3500 to stage the attack order to advance his career.
As he was sentenced, Smollett delivered an impassioned plea, maintaining his innocence and declaring that he isn’t suicidal. “I am not suicidal. And if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself,” he said. “And you must all know that.”
“If I did this, then it means that I stuck my fist in the fears of Black Americans in this country for over 400 years and the fears of the LGBTQ community,” he added.
“Your honour, I respect you and I respect the jury, but I did not do this, and I am not suicidal.”
Smollett was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and $120,106 in restitution.
An appeal was launched by his lawyers immediately following his sentencing and, on 16 March, after six days behind bars, the First District Court of Appeals ruled that he should be released pending the appeal.
Smollett’s attorneys argued that their client would wind up serving the entirety of his sentence during the appeals process, partnered with the claim that being behind bars would put him in harm’s way and that he carried significant risk of catching COVID-19 due to a compromised immune system.
Smollett’s conditional release came with a $150,000 personal recognisance bond, meaning he is only required to pay if he fails to show up to court when required.