Jussie Smollett is a free man. In just under a week from when he was sentenced to serve 150 days behind bars for orchestrating a faux hate crime against himself in January 2019, Deadline reported that Smollett would be exiting the facility on Wednesday. This news comes from a one-page order from the Illinois Appellate Court, which granted the motion from the former Empire star’s attorneys for a stay of the sentence and follows the sentencing judge denying their first motion for appeal last week.
According to the Appellate Court judge, Smollett’s release was warranted as he’d most likely have served his full sentence before his appeal could be decided. What also helped Smollett was that he did not have a history of violent crime and is not deemed a risk to society. However, Smollett will need to put up a $150,000 person recognizance bond, which is reportedly taking place as of this writing.
This ordeal began on Jan. 29, 2019, when the Chicago Police Department had responded to calls of an assault against Smollett. The actor claimed that he’d been attacked by two unknown assailants in masks, alleging he’d been doused with bleach and had a rope placed around his neck during the assault. During the investigation, police identified the masked men as Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, two brothers whom Smollett directly worked with on Empire. They cooperated with police and said Smollett had paid them both to orchestrate the hoax.
Smollett claimed to be surprised that the Osundairo brothers were his attackers and stuck to his story that the assault was legitimate. At trial, he alleged that he’d had an intimate relationship with Abimbola that went south due to Olabinjo’s homophobia, an allegation the brothers deny. Ultimately, Smollett’s story failed to convince the jury despite the actor maintaining his innocence. He was found guilty on five of six counts of felony disorderly conduct. Last week, he was sentenced to 150 days in jail, followed by 30 months of probation. He was also ordered to pay the city of Chicago $120,106 in restitution.
A #FreeJussie Campaign Had Been Launched Prior to His Release
Jussie Smollett continues to maintain his innocence. While it seems most everyone does not believe his story, he has regardless garnered a lot of support from friends, family, and fans on social media calling for his release. This includes sister Jurnee Smollett, who took part in the campaign to #FreeJussie as she felt his incarceration was unjust. Though Jurnee says she believes her brother, she also argues that jail time is still an excessive punishment.
“Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at nearly five times the rate of White Americans. Jussie is innocent. And…you don’t have to believe in his innocence to believe he should be free,” Jurnee said on Instagram.
Wherever one might stand on the Smollett situation, it appears that the courtroom drama is far from over. The actor’s new appeal may be getting him out of jail for now, but it remains to be seen if this will keep him out or if he’ll end up having to serve the remainder of his sentence.