Jussie Smollett released from jail after serving six days for hate crime hoax
A judge has ordered Jussie Smollett to be released from jail while an appeal takes place, just six days into his 150-day sentence.
On 10 March, judge James Linn described Smollett as “shameful” as he sentenced him to 150 days in prison and ordered him to pay $140,000 (£106,411) in fines and restitution for staging a racist, homophobic hate crime against himself.
Smollett said he was the victim of an attack in 2019, claiming that two men shouted homophobic, racist slurs, beat him and looped a makeshift noose around his neck, but it was later discovered that he paid brothers and Empire extras Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo to carry it out.
In December, Jussie Smollett was found guilty of five charges of disorderly conduct.
But Smollett is now appealing his convictions, and on Wednesday (16 March), the First District Court of Appeals ruled that he should be released pending the appeal.
According to The Independent, his lawyers argued that Smollett could have served just half of his sentence for good behaviour, and therefore could be released before the appeal process was complete.
They added that he could be attacked by other inmates, that protective custody would have a negative effect on his mental health, and that he was at risk of catching COVID-19 because he has a compromised immune system.
Smollett walked free on a $150,000 personal recognisance bond, meaning he is only required to pay if he fails to show up to court when required.
At his sentencing, Smollett again insisted he was innocent, and shouted at the court that “if anything happens” to him in prison, “I did not do it to myself”.
“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.”
More: Jussie Smollett