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Winning the Messaging Battle, Part I

The Drama Continues: Jussie Smollett to Be Released from Jail

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool

The dramatic saga of Jussie Smollett continues. Less than a week after his sentencing, an appeals court ruled that the actor is to be released from jail during his appeal. He had initially been sentenced by Judge James Linn to 30 months felony probation, the first 150 days of which Smollett was to spend in the Cook County Jail, restitution in the amount of $120,106, and a fine of $25,000, after a jury found him guilty of a hate crime hoax last December, as Spencer covered last Thursday


Smollet does not even have to put any money down yet for $150,000 bond. Rather, it's on his own recognizance, meaning he's had to agree to come to court as required. 

According to a report from the Associated Press:

The appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, said Smollett could be released after posting a personal recognizance bond of $150,000, meaning he doesn’t have to put down money but agrees to come to court as required. It was unclear late Wednesday how soon he may be released. 

Smollett’s attorneys had argued that he would have completed the sentence by the time the appeal process was completed and 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 the claim “factually incorrect,” in a response to the motion.


Appellate Court Justices Thomas Hoffman and Joy Cunningham signed the order, while Justice Maureen Connors dissented.

Throughout this entire ordeal, Smollett has maintained his innocence, and has continuously engaged in dramatic behavior. 

Upon being sentenced, not only did Smollett proclaim he was innocent, but he went on a rant about not being suicidal, highlighted by Katie. "I would just like to say your honor, I am not suicidal. I am not suicidal! I am not suicidal! I am innocent and I am not suicidal!" He also referenced being gay and black. "If I did this then it means I stuck my fist in the fears of black Americans in this country for over 400 years and the fears of the LGBTQ community. Your honor, I respect you and I respect the jury but I did not do this and I am not suicidal. If anything happens to me when I go in there I did not do it to myself and you must all know that," Smollett said. 


This triggered a mental health assessment, as Madeline covered, with the Cook County sheriff's office saying after the hearing last Thursday that Smollett "will be given a comprehensive medical, mental health, and security assessment and will be placed in appropriate housing."

While Smollett was housed in a psychiatric ward, he was ultimately moved on Monday, because the bed was needed for someone else, according to the sheriff's office. This was reported in an update to a TMZ piece citing Smollett's brother, Jocqui, who claimed it was because of fans putting pressure on Cook County. 

TMZ had also reported that Smollett even expected to get jail time:

Sources with direct knowledge and in constant touch with the "Empire" actor tell TMZ ... Jussie fully expected to get jail time. He told his defense team before sentencing he felt he would be treated more harshly than other defendants convicted of a non-violent crime ... all because of the color of his skin. He thinks it's more evidence of systemic racism in the judicial system. 

As you know, the judge read Jussie the riot act, saying the hoax was rooted in a desire for more fame and more attention.

Jussie told his team after sentencing he was dead-on when he predicted the outcome ... based on the animosity the judge showed toward him. He called it "unfortunate" and "sad."


It is not clear when Smollett may be released, AP noted. 

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