Jussie Smollett to Be Released From Jail While Conviction Appeal Is Pending

By Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly
Reporter
Mimi Nguyen Ly covers world news with a focus on U.S. news. Contact her at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com
March 16, 2022 Updated: March 16, 2022

An appeals court on Wednesday ordered that Jussie Smollett be released from jail while his conviction appeal is pending.

In a 2-1 decision, the court said that he could be released after posting a personal recognizance bond of $150,000, meaning he doesn’t have to put down money but has agreed to come to court as required.

Appellate Court Justices Thomas Hoffman and Joy Cunningham signed the order, while Justice Maureen Connors dissented.

It was unclear late Wednesday how soon he may be released.

Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in jail on March 10, after having been convicted of five of six counts of felony disorderly conduct, which is the charge filed for lying to police. He was placed in custody immediately after the sentencing hearing. His sentence could be as little as 75 days if he was on good behavior.

During and after the hearing, Smollett, the former star of the TV show “Empire,” repeatedly said he was innocent and that he is not suicidal.

A spokesman for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office said on March 10 that Smollett “will be given a comprehensive medical, mental health, and security assessment and will be placed in appropriate housing,” the same process used for all people entering the jail.

On March 15, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Smollett’s family said that Smollett was moved to a new jail cell after having been held in a psych ward.

Smollett’s brother, Jocqui, said the former TV star had been housed in the prison’s psych ward and that officials had noted that he “was at risk of harming himself,” which he said was “very concerning” because his brother was “in no way, shape, or form at risk of self-harm.”

Smollett’s attorneys had argued that he would have completed the sentence by the time the appeal process was completed and that Smollett could be in danger of physical harm if he remained locked up in Cook County Jail. The office of the special prosecutor called the claim “factually incorrect,” in a response to the motion.

Smollett had asserted that the attack happened in January 2019 on a dark Chicago street, when he was confronted by two masked strangers who threw a noose around his neck and poured chemicals on him, while yelling racist and homophobic slurs.

Police arrested the Smollett a month after the reported attack and said the actor paid two brothers $3,500 to orchestrate the attack to raise his show-business profile.

Smollett, who knew the men from his work on the television show “Empire” that filmed in Chicago, testified that he did not recognize them and did not know they were the men attacking him.

A jury found him guilty of lying to police in December 2021. Smollett has continued to maintain his innocence.

Katabella Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly covers world news with a focus on U.S. news. Contact her at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com