Court Orders Jussie Smollett Be Released From Prison During His Appeal
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Jussie Smollett has been released from prison as his lawyers work on his conviction after being found guilty of staging a hate crime by a county court.
The Empire actor was found guilty of five counts of disorderly conduct for staging a hate crime almost three years ago.
Last week, he was sentenced by a Cook County Court judge to serve 150 days (five months) in prison, was fined US$25,000 and ordered to complete 30 months of probation.
The following day, the actor filed for an appeal.
A judge has permitted him to be released from jail as that appeal is underway.
Smollett’s lawyers fought for his release on the premise the actor would’ve finished his jail time by the time the appeal process finished.
His lawyers also argued that Smollett would be in danger of physical harm and violence if left in Cook County Jail.
The actor’s release comes days after he was placed in a 'psychiatric ward' in jail to protect him from other prisoners.
There were fears his public profile could make him a target.
Smollett’s brother shared a video on his brother’s Instagram account and said he was in no way in danger or at risk of self-harm.
He said: “So Jussie is currently in a psych ward at the Cook County Jail.
“What's very concerning is that there was a note attached to his paperwork today and put in front of his jail cell saying that he's at risk of self-harm."
He added: “I want to make it clear to folks that he is in no way, shape or form at risk of self-harm.”
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office also issued a statement and dispelled rumours that Smollett was forced into solitary confinement.
He wrote: "Mr. Smollett is not being held in solitary confinement. The use of solitary confinement was abolished at the Cook County Jail in 2016, and any claims that he is being held in this manner is false.
“Mr. Smollett is being housed in his own cell, which is monitored by security cameras in the cell and by an officer wearing a body worn camera who is stationed at the entrance of the cell to ensure that Mr. Smollett is under direct observation at all times.”
Following his sentencing last week, Smollett yelled to the judge: "I’m not suicidal, I am innocent."
He went on to say that if placed in jail, he could be in potential danger and that if found dead in his cell, he wouldn’t be responsible, it would be the work of another cell-mate.