Jussie Smollett was ordered released from jail Wednesday, March 16, 2022 after an appeals court decision that agreed with Smollett’s lawyers that he should be released pending the appeal of his conviction for lying to police about a racist and homophobic attack that he arranged.
Cook County Judge James Linn sentenced Smollett only six days ago, ordering Smollett to immediately begin serving 150 days in jail for his conviction on five felony counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police.
The appeals court on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 decided Smollett could be released after posting a personal recognizance bond of $150,000. A personal recognizance bond means that a person is released when they sign a statement saying they will come to court, but they don’t actually pay any money — not even a percentage of the bond. They are obligated to pay if they don’t show up in court.
Smollett’s attorneys argued in appeals court today that Jussie would have completed the sentence by the time the appeal process was completed — a sentence they argued he might not have deserved if the appeal overturned the conviction. His defense attorneys added that while in jail he could be in danger of physical harm while he remained incarcerated in Cook County Jail.
Jussie Smollett sentenced for lying to Chicago police (archived live stream March 10, 2022). YouTube Tips ⓘ
Jussie Smollett on Thursday, March 10, 2022 about 6:30 p.m. was sentenced in the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building to …
30 months felony probation,
150 days in Cook County Jail,
He was also fined $25,000, and was ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution.
During sentencing, Judge James Linn said Jussie Smollett created a “heater” case and called Jussie Smollett a charlatan. A “heater” case is a case that stimulates a public reaction that demands immediate justice.
Judge Linn also said Smollett was arrogant and narcissistic.
Jussie Smollett was sentenced to six months in jail in a Chicago courtroom on March 10, 2022. As he was whisked out of the courtroom, he said “I am not suicidal and I am innocent”. YouTube Tips ⓘ
Smollett exploded with anger after the sentencing, saying he is innocent, and that he is not suicidal. He said if anything happens to me in jail, “I am not suicidal.”
“If I did this then it means that I stuck my fist in the fears of black Americans in this country for over 400 years, and the fears of the LGBT community. Your honor 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 this to myself.”
— Jussie Smollett after sentencing
Jussie Smollett on Thursday, December 9, 2021 was found Guilty on the first 5 counts in his trial that involved false police reports. He was found Not Guilty on the sixth count, which involved lying to police about an aggravated battery in what is now described as a hoax, race baiting event constructed by Jussie Smollet.
Smollett and family arrived at the courthouse at about 5:05 p.m. CT Wednesday, December 9, 2021 to listen to the verdict. The verdict was read in court a few minutes later. Television cameras were not allowed in the courtroom.
On February 11, 2020, after a drawn out events of charges, civil lawsuits and dismissals, an investigation by special prosecutor Dan K. Webb was completed, Smollett was indicted a second time by a Cook County grand jury on six counts pertaining to making four false police reports. On June 12, 2020, Cook County Judge James Linn struck down Smollett’s claim that his February charge violated the principle of double jeopardy. Smollett faced six counts of making false police reports. His trial began in November 2021.
Count 1: Guilty of lying to police (accused of falsely telling first responding Chicago Police Officer Muhammed Baig at about 2:45 a.m. that he was the victim of a hate crime that had occurred about 45 minutes prior, and that two attackers put a rope around his neck).
Count 2: Guilty of lying to police (accused of falsely telling Chicago Police Officer Muhammed Baig that he was the victim of a battery, describing that the attackers beat him and poured bleach on him).
Count 3: Guilty of lying to police (accused of falsely telling first responding Chicago Police Officer Kimberly Murray at about 6:00 a.m. that he was the victim of a hate crime that had occurred about 45 minutes prior, and that two attackers put a rope around his neck).
Count 4: Guilty of lying to police (accused of falsely telling Chicago Police Officer Kimberly Murray at about 6:00 a.m. that he was the victim of a battery, describing that the attackers beat him and poured bleach on him).
Count 5: Guilty of lying to police (accused of falsely telling Chicago Police Officer Kimberly Murray at about 7:15 p.m. that he was the victim of a battery).
Count 6: Not-Guilty lying to police (accused of falsely telling Chicago Police Detective Robert Graves on February 14, 2019 that he’s been the victim of an aggravated battery).
Overall in the public eye, Jussie Smollett was accused of lying and race baiting to depict himself as a victim of racism to fuel his support for his personality and/or career.
On January 29, 2019, Smollett reported to Chicago police that he was attacked outside his apartment building by two men in ski masks while the attackers used racial and homophobic slurs. Smollet claimed the offender said, “This is MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald J. Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.”
The suspects “poured an unknown liquid” on Smollett and put a noose around his neck. Smollett said that he fought them off. Smollett was was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. His injuries were reported as serious, he was released “in good condition” later that morning.
The Chicago police were called to Smollet’s apartment after 2:30 a.m. Upon their arrival at about 2:40 a.m., police discovered Smollett had a white rope around his neck. Smollett told police that the attack may have been motivated by his criticism of the Trump administration, and that he believed that the alleged assault was linked to a threatening letter that was sent to him about a week earlier.
Later FBI and US Postal inspectors investigated a claim by brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who said that Smollett played a role in the letter delivered to Cinespace Studios on January 22, 2021 where the television show Empire is produced.
The note included the message assembled in cutout magazine letters that said “You will die black f-g” with a crude drawing of a stick figure hanging from a tree. The letter was sent to the FBI crime lab for analysis.
“MAGA” was written in red across the envelope. The letter also contained a white powder later determined to be aspirin.
The investigation shifted in February 2019 after police interviewed Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo.
On February 20, 2019, Smollett was charged by a grand jury with a class 4 felony for filing a false police report, and on February, Smollett surrendered himself at the Chicago Police Department’s Central Booking station. Shortly thereafter, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi stated that Smollett “is under arrest and in the custody of detectives”. On March 26, 2019, all charges filed against Smollett were dropped, with Judge Steven Watkins ordering the public court file sealed. State’s Attorney First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats said the office reached a deal with Smollett’s defense team in which prosecutors dropped the charges upon Smollett performing 16 hours of community service and forfeiting his $10,000 bond.
On April 12, 2019, the city of Chicago filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County against Smollett for the costs, totalling $130,105.15, of overtime authorities expended investigating the alleged attack. In November 2019, Smollett filed a countersuit against the city of Chicago alleging he was the victim of “mass public ridicule and harm” and arguing he should not be made to reimburse the city for the cost of the investigation.
After the charges were dropped, allegations of favoritism and leniency were made against prosecutor Kim Foxx. In June 2019, Foxx asked the state to conduct an independent inquiry by a special investigator. On February 11, 2020, after further investigation by special prosecutor Dan K. Webb was completed, Smollett was indicted again by a Cook County grand jury on six counts pertaining to making four false police reports. On June 12, 2020, Cook County Judge James Linn struck down Smollett’s claim that his February charge violated the principle of double jeopardy. Smollett faced six counts of making false police reports. His trial began in November 2021 with jury selection beginning on November 29, 2021.
Brothers Abimbola Osundairo testified against Smollett, saying they were recruited by Smollett to participate in the hoax attack. Abimbola Osundairo said in court, “He wanted me to tussle and throw him to the ground and give him a bruise while my brother Ola would pour bleach on him and put a rope around him, and then we would run away.”
A security video captured a rehearsal of the attack involving Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo.
Abimbola Osundairo felt indebted to Jussie Smollett because he facilitated connections on the set of the TV show Empire when Abimbola Osundairo would work as a stand in.
Attempt to Vacate Verdict
In late February 2022, Smollett’s attorney moved for the verdict to be vacated, claiming Smollett’s rights were violated when his attorneys were prevented from actively participating in jury selection. Smollett’s defense also claimed that the court had made various errors before and during his trial.
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