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Smollett Freed From Jail Pending Appeal On Charge of Lying to Police

Jussie Smollett was released from jail after six nights behind bars when an appeals court agreed with his lawyers that he should be free pending the appeal of his conviction for lying to police about a racist and homophobic attack. The former “Empire” actor walked out of the Cook County Jail in Chicago on Wednesday surrounded by security. His attorneys said Smollett, who is Black and gay, was the target of a racist justice system and people playing politics. A judge sentenced Smollett last week to begin serving 150 days in jail for his conviction on five felony counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police. After the sentence was handed down, Smollett proclaimed his innocence and said, “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.”

The appeals court said Smollett could be released after posting a personal recognizance bond of $150,000. Defense attorney Nenye Uche criticized a special prosecutor’s decision to charge Smollett again after the initial charges were dropped by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and he paid a fine. He also called Judge James Linn’s sentence excessive for a low-level felony. “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. Special prosecutor Dan Webb recommended that Smollett serve “an appropriate amount of prison time.” “His conduct denigrated hate crimes,” Webb said. “His conduct will discourage others who are victims of hate crimes from coming forward and reporting those crimes to law enforcement.”


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