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Smollett released from jail during appeal

CHICAGO (AP) – Former Empire star Jussie Smollett was released from jail following six nights behind bars after an appeals court agreed with his lawyers that he should be free pending the appeal of his conviction for lying to police about a racist and homophobic attack.

He got into an awaiting SUV, but his attorneys said Smollett, who is Black, was the target of a racist justice system and people playing politics.

The appeals court ruling came after a Cook County judge sentenced Smollett last week to immediately begin serving 150 days in jail for his conviction on five felony counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police.

In an outburst immediately after the sentence was handed down, Smollett proclaimed his innocence and said, “I am not suicidal. And if anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself. And you must all know that.”

Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett in Chicago, Illinois. PHOTO: AFP