Jussie Smollett to be released from jail on bond during conviction appeal

Jussie Smollett will be released from jail on bond while he appeals his conviction, a court has ordered.

He was found guilty on five of the six charges he faced for lying about a hate crime attack, while prosecutors claimed he staged the incident in a bid to help his career. 

However, he has maintained his innocence.

The court ordered Smollett to be released from Cook County Jail after posting a personal recognizance bond of $150,000 (£115,000), which means he does not have to put down money but agrees to come to court when required.

It’s not yet clear how soon he may be released.

The actor’s lawyers had argued that Smollett could be in danger of physical harm if he remained locked up in Cook County Jail.

The office of the special prosecutor called this claim ‘factually incorrect.’

In January 2019, the TV star had filed police reports alleging he was set upon by two assailants in Chicago, where Smollett claimed the pair tied a noose around his neck in a racist and homophobic attack.

As the sentence was handed down in a Cook County courtroom in Chicago on Thursday, the 39-year-old actor told the court: ‘Your honor, I respect you and I respect the jury, but I did not do this.

‘And 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.’

Along with the custodial sentence, Smollett was given 30 months of felony probation and ordered to pay $120,106 (£91k) in restitution and a $25,000 (£19k) fine.

The judge James Linn labelled the actor a ‘charlatan’ and insisted he had done harm to real victims of hate crimes, many who may be too frightened to come forward and tell the authorities.

The judge also expressed fears people might be reluctant to believe other stories of real injustices, saying Smollett had committed ‘hour upon hour of perjury’ while ‘lying’ while testifying on the stand.

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