Jussie Smollett released from prison pending appeal of conviction

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Jussie Smollett was released from prison on Wednesday after serving less than a week of his sentence for staging a fake hate crime against himself.

The Empire actor was sentenced to 150 days of jail time and 30 months probation last Thursday after being found guilty of felony disorderly conduct for lying to police about a racist and homophobic attack he staged on himself in Chicago in January 2019.

On Wednesday, Illinois Appellate Court released a ruling in which they ordered the 39-year-old to be released from prison pending the appeal of his conviction, on the condition he put up a $150,000 (£114,000) personal recognisance bond.

Around 8pm that evening, Smollett was pictured walking out of the Cook County Jail in Chicago surrounded by his family, members of his legal team and other supporters.

According to Deadline, Smollett remained silent upon his exit, but his defence attorney Nenye Uche told reporters that the actor only drank water over the past six days and ate no food whatsoever.

In their motion to get him released, the star's defence team noted that he had never been convicted of a violent crime, could face physical harm while behind bars, and could be held in solitary confinement, which could damage his mental health. Sean Wieber, representing the prosecution, argued that the claims were without merit.

The Appellate Court judge ultimately agreed with the defence, noting in the ruling that Smollett would most likely have served the majority of his jail sentence before his appeal had progressed very far.

After he was sentenced last week, Smollett told the judge, "Your honour, 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, you must all know that."

While he was incarcerated, his former Empire co-star Taraji P. Henson, Pose star Indya Moore, and his sister Jurnee Smollett posted the hashtag #FreeJussie on social media and insisted the punishment didn't fit the crime.