Actor Jussie Smollett was released from jail on a $150,000 bond by a judge on Wednesday, March 16, after serving six days of a 150-day sentence. The brother of the former “Empire” actor said Smollett did not receive much support from the public – particularly in the Black community — because of homophobia.
The 39-year-old actor was serving time after being convicted of disorderly conduct for lying to the police about staging a hate crime. The actor and musician allegedly only drank ice water while in jail and feared he would be harmed while incarcerated due to his high profile.
His attorneys argued he was tried twice unconstitutionally after the Cook County State Attorney’s Office initially said it would dismiss his case in 2019.
“When this case was initially reindicted, when this case was prosecuted, when this case was sentenced, I wondered to myself if Chicago had seceded from the Union because you cannot punish someone twice,” Smollett’s lead defense attorney Nenye Uche told reporters outside the jail, the New York Post reported.
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Smollett’s attorneys also said their client would have served his full sentence by the time the appeal they filed was heard as the appellate court overseeing the case is not known for speed. They filed an emergency motion to postpone sentencing and the judge granted it citing that Smollett had been convicted of a non-violent offense.
Smollett’s two brothers accompanied him as he left the jail. One brother said Jussie would be getting more support from the public if he was straight.
“Our community is innately– has a lot of homophobia in it and they leveraged that fact. They knew that, ultimately, Jussie was not going to get the same type of support as a straight Black man and it’s been obvious,” brother Jocqui Smollett told Revolt Black News during an interview posted to Instagram.
“I find it very difficult to believe that this ever would have gotten this far if Jussie was a straight Black man. And so we need to really think about that — celebrities, common people, everyone,” Jocqui continued. “We need to think about the fact that literally society at large failed him and hopefully one day the truth comes out to where people can see it clear as day. I don’t know how they don’t see it now, but hopefully someday that happens; and when that day happens, it’s really a shame it took that long for folks to understand that.”
Jocqui Smollett’s comments didn’t go over well with some Black users on Twitter who said they believe Jussie Smollett is guilty.
PHOTO: Actor Jussie Smollett, center, leaves the Cook County Jail Wednesday, March 16, 2022, after an appeals court agreed with his lawyers that he should be released pending the appeal of his conviction for lying to police about a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)