Jussie Smollett was released from jail after six nights behind bars after an appeals court found he should be released pending the appeal of his conviction for lying to police about a fake hate crime.
The former “Empire” actor made no comment as he walked out of Cook County Jail on Wednesday (Mar. 16), flanked by security. According to his attorneys, Jussie Smollett was the victim of a racist justice system.
The appeals court ruled he could be released on his own recognizance but will have to pay $150,000 if he fails to make scheduled court appearances. The ruling came after a judge sentenced the actor to 150 days in jail last week for his conviction on five felony counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police.
After the sentence was handed down, Jussie Smollett loudly proclaimed his innocence. In an outburst, he told the court, “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.”
Jussie Smollett Lived Off Ice Water Behind Bars
Jussie Smollett defense attorney Nenye Uche said that the actor’s family is “very very happy with today’s developments.” He also told reporters his client had not eaten at all during his time in jail: “Ice water, that’s been his food and liquid. I can only imagine if I was in jail for something I didn’t do, I wouldn’t be eating.”
He was critical of the special prosecutor’s decision to charge Smollett again once the initial charges were dropped and he paid a fine. He claimed the sentence was excessive and said the appellate court doesn’t “play politics.”
“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 state said in their response to the appeal: “Rather than attempt to meet his burden of showing good cause for his immediate release, Mr. Smollett makes only cursory, woefully undeveloped arguments. Each fails to demonstrate good cause to stay his jail sentence.”