US actor Jussie Smollett has been released on bond from jail in Chicago pending an appeal against his conviction for staging a hate crime against himself.
The ruling stemmed from an incident three years ago when Smollett said he was attacked by two assailants.
The actor, who is black and gay, said the attackers had shouted slurs and a Trump slogan, dumped a “chemical substance” on him, and tied a noose around his neck while he was walking late at night in January 2019.
Police opened an investigation into the incident but later charged Smollett with filing a false police report, saying he had staged the assault.
Last week, Smollett was found guilty of lying to police and sentenced to 150 days in prison despite maintaining that the hoax incident, which took place in Chicago in 2019, was real.
Smollett had already spent six nights in jail since he was sentenced to 150 days of confinement plus 30 months of probation, the Cook County judge also ordered him to pay over $120,000 in restitution, and fined him $25,000.
Following his sentencing, his lawyers launched an appeal. A 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel said he could be released upon posting a $150,000 recognizance bond.
It’s still unclear if Smollet might walk free. Despite maintaining his innocence, Smollett lost his role as a singer-songwriter in the final season of “Empire,” a Fox television hip-hop drama that ended a five-year run in 2020.