The Cook County appeals court ordered Jussie Smollett’s release from jail while he appeals his conviction, the New York Post reports. Smollett was convicted of faking a hate crime in December 2021 and wassentenced to 150 days in county jail on March 10. His Empire co-star Taraji P. Henson was among many who called the punishment excessive. “I am not here to debate you on his innocence but we can agree that the punishment does not fit the crime,” she wrote on Instagram, contrasting Smollett’s treatment with that of the woman who had falsely accused Emmett Till of whistling at her. “No one was hurt or killed during Jussie’s ordeal,” she wrote. “He has already lost everything.”
Smollett has maintained his innocence during the entire trial process. His lawyers argued that his sentence could be over by the time the appeal process was finished and that his safety was at risk in county jail. At his sentencing, Smollett stated that he was not suicidal and that if he died in custody, it would be foul play. He was released after posting a $150,000 personal recognizance bond. His lawyer, Nenye Uche, said the family was “very very happy with today’s developments” (per Billboard). Uche also said that Smollett did not eat and only drank water during his time in jail.
This post has been updated throughout.