US actor Jussie Smollett has been released on bond from jail in Chicago pending an appeal against his conviction for falsely claiming he was the victim of a hate crime.
He was recently sentenced to almost five months in prison after being found guilty of falsely telling police he was the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime in 2019 – an attack prosecutors said he himself staged.
Following his sentencing, his lawyers launched an appeal.
Smollett has always maintained the hoax incident, which took place in Chicago in 2019, was real.
He had to sign a $150,000 (£114,000) recognizance bond prior to his release and made no comment as he left Cook County jail surrounded by security.
But his defense team said they were “very, very happy” with the appeal justices’ ruling and said Smollett was the target of a racist justice system, CBS News reports.
“Regardless of what you think about this case… the real question is, should black men be walked into jail for a Class 4 felony? Shame on you if you think they should, that’s a disgrace,” his defence attorney Nenye Uche is quoted as saying in The Chicago Tribune.
The prosecuting office said the claim that his health and safety were at risk was incorrect as he had been in protective custody while in prison. (BBC NEWS REPORTS)