Convicted felon Jussie Smollett was ordered to be released from jail on Wednesday pending appeal of his 150-day sentence that went into effect last week for staging a hate crime hoax against himself and lying to law enforcement about it.
“The one-page order issued by the Illinois Appellate Court on Wednesday afternoon stated that Smollett was to be released from the Cook County Jail after signing a $150,000 recognizance bond, which would not require him to post any money,” the Chicago Tribune reported. “The only explanation offered in the order was that Smollett has never been convicted of a violent offense and would have completed his sentence of incarceration well before his appeal is decided.”
Smollett was sentenced on Thursday of last week to 150 days in jail, followed by 30 months on probation, and ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution and $25,000 in fines during his sentencing.
Smollett told police on January 29, 2019, that he was attacked by two men in Chicago at 2 a.m. who he claimed made racist and homophobic slurs, wrapped a rope around his neck, poured an “unknown substance” on him, and yelled that this is “MAGA country.”
Police later obtained footage of the two men, who are brothers, in question and detained them at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport a couple of weeks later after they returned from Nigeria. Police later released the two brothers, saying that they were not suspects in the investigation.
The Associated Press highlighted the following key events:
- Feb. 16, 2019: Police say the investigation has “shifted” after detectives questioned the brothers, and request a follow-up interview with Smollett. His lawyers say he feels “victimized” by reports that he played a role in the assault.
- Feb. 17, 2019: Chicago police reach out to Smollett’s attorney saying they still want to interview him again because new information has “shifted” their investigation.
- Feb. 19, 2019: Chicago’s top prosecutor, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, recuses herself from the investigation. Her office says the decision was made “out of an abundance of caution … to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case.”
- Feb. 20, 2019: Prosecutors charge Smollett with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report about the alleged attack.
- March 7, 2019: A Cook County grand jury returns a 16-count indictment charging Smollett with falsely reporting an offense.
- March 26, 2019: Smollett’s attorneys say charges alleging he lied to police have been dropped.
- March 28, 2019: A city official says Chicago is seeking $130,000 from Smollett to cover the cost of the investigation into his reported beating, which police say was staged.
- Aug. 23, 2019: Judge names former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb as special prosecutor to investigate why charges against Smollett were dropped.
- Feb. 11, 2020: Webb says grand jury returns six-count indictment against Smollett, accusing him of lying to police.
- Dec. 9, 2021: A jury convicts Smollett on five counts of disorderly conduct, and acquits him on a sixth count.
This article has been expanded after publication to include additional information.