Smollett’s lawyers call for his release pending appeal, actor moved from ‘psych ward’

The actor's legal team claim in court filings that jail time could be detrimental to his mental and physical health

Jussie Smollett’s attorneys have called for his release from Cook County Jail pending an appeal of his conviction for staging a hate crime in Chicago in 2019.

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Smollett’s legal team claimed in court filings that jail time could be detrimental to his mental and physical health. Smollett’s attorneys want a state appellate court to release him from custody while they argue to a higher court that his conviction should be overturned. The demand for his release comes as the family shared a racist and threatening voice message they received about Smollett’s safety in jail.  

Jussie Smollett Sentenced For Disorderly Conduct Convictions
Jussie Smollett is led out of the courtroom after being sentenced at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on March 10, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Cassella-Pool/Getty Images)

“I hope what they do to that guy in jail — here’s what they’re going to do, right. They’re going to take a broom handle, and take that little [expletive], shove it in there, and he’s gonna go, ‘[shrieking sound],’” a man’s voice says on the message that was shared by Smollett’s team on Monday, Rolling Stone reports. 

Last year, the former Empire star was found guilty by a Cook County jury in Chicago for orchestrating and lying about two masked men physically attacking him in January 2019. Smollett told police that his attackers yelled racist and homophobic remarks, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck.

Following an investigation, Chicago police concluded that Smollett staged the hate crime with the help of two Nigerian brothers. The alleged hoax caused “a legal and media frenzy that made international headlines,” theGrio reported. 

Smollett was found guilty on five of the six charges of felony disorderly conduct for making false reports to the police. He was sentenced last week to 30 months of probation, the first 150 days of which are to be served in Cook County Jail. Judge James Linn also ordered him to pay a $25,000 fine as well as $120,106 in restitution to the city of Chicago.

Smollett’s 150-day jail sentence could be reduced as he is eligible for good behavior credit which would reportedly see him released in late May. According to a statement from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Smollett is not currently on suicide watch. He has been moved from a psych ward and into a jail cell with a bed, his brother, Jocqui Smollett, reported in a video message shared on Instagram Tuesday.

“So I just got to see him. Just want to give y’all an update on his status. Thank you so much for the support, all the hashtag #FreeJussie, it’s working. He’s now been moved to a new jail cell out of the psych ward that has a bed,” Jocqui explained. “Before he was sleeping on a restrained bed and now he’s been moved to a jail cell that actually has a bed. Thank you so much. That’s really because of all the #FreeJussie that’s been going on. It’s all the pressure we’re applying on Cook County and Cook County Jail.”

Jocqui added, “Unfortunately, Cook County doesn’t really move until they get bad publicity and so we have to just keep applying pressure, y’all. So keep reposting with #FreeJussie. Keep continuing to call Cook County Jail checking in on him and keep saying that you believe he should be free.”

Smollett had been housed in the psych ward over the weekend due to jailhouse concerns that he would physically harm himself, but Jocqui made clear at the time that his brother “is in no way, shape, or form at risk of self-harm,” he said, per Fox News.

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