Jussie Smollett has been released from jail but is facing uncertain future

After six days in Chicago jail, Jussie Smollett was released and now faces months, if certainly years of uncertainty.

Jussie Smollett has been released from jail but is facing uncertain future

This includes what the future holds for him as an actor and performer, and whether or not he will be back behind bars.

After a jury found him guilty last week of lying to police that he was the victim of an anti-gay, racist attack in downtown Chicago in 2019, he was sentenced to 150 days in prison plus probation and a $500 fine. He was released late Wednesday night hours after an appellate court granted him permission to be freed during the appeals process. This would not have been completed until Smollett had completed his sentence.

Smollett is Black and gay. He has always maintained his innocence. As he was being escorted from the Cook County Jail, surrounded by security, he didn't speak with reporters. His attorneys would not say where he may be headed or what his plans are for the future.

Smollett will now have to serve the 30-month probation imposed by Cook County Judge James Linn. However, he can leave the state and continue his travels without restriction under the terms of the sentence. He could therefore travel to Los Angeles or New York to resurrect himself.

Publicists warn that this will prove difficult and that the most recent developments might not have been in his favor.

Eric Rose, a publicist, stated that Smollett is doing more harm than good by fighting his conviction and sentence. He said that while celebrities can sometimes be forgiven for admitting wrongdoing and apologizing, Smollett keeps his name and face in the news, reminding people about the circumstances of his conviction.

Rose stated, "That's what's known as 'death with 1,000 cuts'." That is terrible from a reputation standpoint.

Smollett, who was being tried on the charges against him, testified that "I have lost my livelihood" as a result of the trial. He also lost his role on "Empire" and has since been working behind the scenes writing, directing, and producing "B-Boy Blues", which won the American Black Film Festival's "fan favorite narrative feature award."

Danny Deraney, another publicist, stated that while it may not be easy to find work in front of the camera, Smollett might have opportunities behind the scenes. He has a sister and other relatives who are successful in the industry.

He said, "Anything is possible."

Smollett was convicted of five low level felony charges of disorderly behavior and acquitted of a sixth. It is possible that he will be ordered back to prison to complete the remainder of his sentence.

In January 2019, Smollett reported to Chicago police that two men attacked him as he walked by his home at 2 a.m. Smollett said that the attackers shouted at him that he was "MAGA country" - a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan "Make America Great Again", which some Trump critics consider racist and discriminatory.

The claims quickly attracted national attention. Trump spoke out. Chicago police stated that they investigated the incident continuously before concluding that it was a hoax staged by Smollett in order to gain publicity. Prosecutors presented a check that Smollett wrote to his brothers, who were working on the "Empire," as payment for the fake assault.

Smollett was initially charged with disorderly conduct. However, Cook County State's attorney Kim Foxx dropped the case. Smollett was again charged by a special prosecutor.

Smollett's defense lawyers said that he was not entitled to be charged again outside the jail. Smollett was also accused of being the victim of a racist justice system, and people playing politics.

Appeal processes can take several months or even years. There are many deadlines that must be met, extensions and new deadlines.

Smollett's lawyers have now filed their notice of appeal. They must then send to the court all documents, transcripts, and other documentation that the case generated.

Stephen Komie, an experienced Chicago attorney who files appeals, stated that they have 49 days ...". He also said that it is common to postpone the deadline for two or three 49-day periods.

Komie explained that after that, Smollett’s attorneys have 35 business days to file their brief. However, they can extend that deadline up to four times. When it comes time for the prosecutors to respond, the court may grant them up to four additional 35-day extensions.

He said, "If the case proceeds quickly, they could have oral argument this time next year." "But if the case proceeds at a normal pace, you will be calling me during the summer 2023 to inform me about oral arguments."

They may then need to wait for a decision for several months, or longer, and depending on how it goes, appeals could be made to the state Supreme Court or possibly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Smollett still owes $120,000 in damages and a $25,000 penalty, but the Chicago Tribune reports that it won't be due for 30 months. In the meantime, Smollett is being sued by Chicago for $130,000 it claims it paid in overtime police to investigate Smollett’s claim that he was assaulted.


 

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