In the latest twist in the Jussie Smollett case, the Empire actor was released from jail Wednesday night after an appeals court ruled that the actor should be freed pending the appeal of his conviction for lying to police about a staged attack.
“He’s out,” Smollett’s attorney told reporters gathered outside the jail. Video streamed live by CBS Chicago showed Smollett being escorted to a waiting car by a group of bodyguards around 8 p.m. Central Time. The actor did not speak as reporters yelled questions.
Moments later, the actor’s attorney held a news conference and said race was a factor in the way Smollett was treated by the judicial system.
“We’ve been complaining about the disparate treatment of African Americans,” attorney Nenye Uche told reporters. “He was put in a cage for a class 4 felony, shame.”
The attorney criticized the special prosecutor in the case for charging Smollett after the initial charges were dropped in March 2019 by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
“Let me make something clear, there is no room for politics in our court system and our appellate courts in this great state,” Uche said.
Earlier in the day, an Illinois appeals court said the 39-year-old performer should be released after posting a personal recognizance bond of $150,000.
Last week, Smollett was sentenced by a Cook County judge to 150 days in jail for lying to Chicago police about the fake homophobic and racist attack.
The actor’s lawyers argued their client needed to be released from the Cook County Jail due to the fact that he would have completed his sentence by the time the appeals process was completed and that he could be at risk of physical harm if he remained in jail.
As previously reported, Jussie Smollett’s brother claimed his brother was being held in a Chicago “psych ward” after his sentencing.
The saga has been going on for over three years. The case began on Jan. 29, 2019, when Jussie claimed “two unknown offenders” approached him after he left a Subway sandwich shop. A police investigation led to the actor being accused of staging the incident by paying two brothers to attack him. He was convicted in December 2021.