Jussie Smollett released from jail pending appeal

CHICAGO — Former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett has been released from jail pending an appeal of his conviction for lying to police.

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Update 9:04 p.m. EDT March 16: Smollett left the Cook County Jail in Chicago on Wednesday night, The Associated Press reported shortly after 9 p.m. EDT.

Original report: A court has ordered that former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett be released from jail during an appeal of his conviction for lying to police, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The news came less than a week after Cook County Judge James Linn sentenced Smollett to 150 days of jail time and 30 months of probation for lying to police in 2019, when he claimed he was the victim of a homophobic and racist attack in Chicago. Smollett, who was convicted in December of five felony counts of disorderly conduct, also was ordered to pay $120,106 in restitution and an additional $25,000 fine at his sentencing hearing Thursday, the AP reported.

>> PREVIOUS REPORT: Jussie Smollett: ‘Empire’ actor sentenced to 150 days in jail, 30 months of probation

Although Smollett, 39, had been ordered to begin serving his jail time immediately, an appeals court ruled 2-1 on Wednesday that he could be released on a personal recognizance bond, according to the news agency. Smollett’s lawyers, who argued that the actor would be at risk of harm in jail, said Smollett would have completed his sentence before the appeals process was finalized. But the special prosecutor said that argument was “factually incorrect,” the AP reported.

It wasn’t immediately clear when Smollett would be released from jail, according to the AP.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.