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Jussie Smollett Released from Jail Pending Appeal

The Empire actor was sentenced to 150 days in jail for staging a hate crime and lying to police

jussie smollett released from jail
Jussie Smollett, photo by Brian Cassella/Pool/Chicago Tribune
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    Less than a week after being sentenced to 150 days in jail for staging a hate crime and lying to police, the Illinois Appellate Court ordered Jussie Smollett’s release from custody as his attorneys ready an appeal.

    On March 10th, a Chicago court sentenced Smollett to 150 days in jail and 30 months felony probation for falsely reporting to police that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. He was also fined $25,000 and ordered to pay $120,106 in restitution. Today (March 16th), an appellate court agreed to stay last week’s sentence, or put it on hold. The actor will be freed on bond pending an appeal.

    In 2019, Smollett told Chicago police that two men approached him on the street at 2:00 in the morning, attacking him with a rope and bleach and hurling racial and homophobic slurs. After investigating the incident as a hate crime, police identified the men as Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, Nigerian brothers who had appeared as extras on Empire. The brothers admitted that Smollett had paid them $3,500 to carry out a fake attack as a publicity stunt, which prosecutors corroborated.

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    In December 2021, Smollett was found guilty of five counts of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. At his sentencing last week, he had a bit of an outburst, insisting that “I am not suicidal!” and “If anything happens to me in there, I did not do it!”

    Smollett’s self-induced hate crime saga has been the cause of many a head-scratching headlines over the years. The latest? Smollett’s defense attorney Nenye Uche revealed on Wednesday that his client observed Lent while behind bars by only drinking water and eating no food whatsoever.

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