A week after his sentencing to 150 days in jail, on Wednesday, Jussie Smollett was freed from Cook County Jail. Surrounded by security while approaching an awaiting SUV, the actor made no comment on being released. After Smollett spent six nights in jail, the appeals court agreed with lawyers that he should be released pending the appeal of his conviction.
After Smollett’s release, his defense attorney, Nenye Uche, spoke with reporters outside the jail. He stated that Smollett is “very very happy with today’s developments,” also mentioning that the actor had not eaten and only drank water during his six-day stint.
Uche also called Judge James Linn’s sentencing excessive for a low-level felony, alleging that racism may have played a role in the court.
“The real question is: Should Black men be walked into jail for a class 4 felony? Shame on you if you think they should,” Uche said.
The ex-Empire star was ordered to immediately serve 150 days in jail following his conviction where he was found guilty on five counts of disorderly conduct. Judge James Linn also ruled that Smollett had to pay $120,100 restitution to Chicago with an additional $25,000 fine.
After the sentencing, Smollett gave the judge an earful, declaring that he was a target.
“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 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. And you must all know that. I respect you, your honor, and I respect your decision.”
In January 2019, it was reported that Smollett had been attacked outside his Chicago home. Evidence came out that the incident was a hoax, including the testimony of two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who said that Smollett hired them to fake the attack. Smollett was then cut from Empire where he portrayed Jamal Lyon, and series creator Lee Daniels stated that the actor wouldn’t return.
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