Jussie Smollett, the Empire actor convicted of lying to police about being the victim of a hate crime, has been released from jail pending appeal after less than a week behind bars.
An appeals court late Wednesday ordered Smollett released while he appeals his conviction, and he was subsequently seen walking out of jail. Last week, a judge sentenced Smollett to 30 months probation, 150 days of which he was ordered to spend in county jail starting immediately.
The actor's attorneys celebrated the appeals court's decision while speaking to reporters, and lawyer Nenye Uche described breaking the news to Smollett in jail, per Fox 32 Chicago.
"He pushed his hands on the glass and his eyes got teary," Uche said. "I've never seen that because he's been very strong in there, and he said, 'I nearly lost hope in our constitutional system.'"
Uche revealed Smollett "hasn't eaten for six days," only drinking ice water while in jail. "I can only imagine if I was in jail for something I didn't do ... I doubt I'd be eating," the attorney said.
Smollett's legal team argues the actor's constitutional rights have been violated because he was charged twice. In 2020, a judge rejected Smollett's double jeopardy claim. Uche also argued Smollett shouldn't have received any jail time, and he slammed the "unprofessional" judge who chastised the actor in court.
"The real question is, should Black men be walked into jail for a class 4 felony?" Uche asked. "Shame on you if you think they should. ... People are still trying to lock Black men up, and it's a disgrace."
Smollett's attorneys previously said he was facing "dangerous threats" as they requested an emergency release. During the sentencing hearing, Judge James Linn told Smollett, "You're just a charlatan pretending to be the victim of a hate crime. And that's shameful."
Smollett maintains his innocence and continues to claim the hate crime really happened.