Chicago, IL | Actor Jussie Smollett walked out of the Cook County Jail on Wednesday night after an Illinois appeals court ruled that he should be released on bond pending the outcome of the appeal of the guilty verdict in his case, and his attorneys praised the decision and said it was a victory for the American judicial system.
Smollett, who was convicted of five counts of felony disorderly conduct in connection to a fake hate crime that he helped to stage in Jan. 2019, was released from the jail just before 8 p.m. Wednesday after the appeal court ruling.
The actor did not address the media, and got into a vehicle waiting outside the facility.
Nenye Uche, Smollett’s attorney, said that the ruling was great news for not just his client, but for the American justice system.
“Let me make something clear: there is no room for politics in our court system, and our appellate courts in this great state do not play politics,” Uche said.
The Smollett legal team contended that the special prosecutor that argued the state’s case against Smollett was not legally appointed saying that the appointment violated the “double jeopardy” clause codified into U.S. law.
“People were not focused on the constitutionality of the prosecution, and we’ve been trying to tell everyone that,” Uche said. “It is unconstitutional to charge someone twice.”
Smollett’s lawyers argued that the case should have ended when Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx dropped charges against the actor, then ordered him to pay a fine.
Instead, special prosecutor Dan Webb was appointed to look into the case, and his office filed new charges against the actor alleging that he had paid two brothers to help him stage a phony hate crime.
Smollett was found guilty on five counts of felony disorderly conduct for lying to police and law enforcement officials during the investigation, and was sentenced to 150 days in jail, a $25,000 fine and restitution costs of more than $120,000.
His lawyers then filed an appeal, arguing that his jail sentence would end before the results of that appeal were read.
An Illinois appeals court agreed, ordering his release on an I-bond.
A court date has not yet been set for Smollett’s appeal. He is allowed to leave the state under terms of his probation, but it is unclear at this time where he will stay while his case makes its way back through the appellate courts.
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