Jussie Smollett walked out of jail a free man on Wednesday night. The former Empire actor was released from behind bars after the higher court ruled he can fight to overturn his guilty verdict at home.
Smollett, 39, held his head high while exiting Cook County Jail in Chicago, flanked by security guards just six days after his sentencing.
In photos captured by Daily Mail, the star is seen walking briskly to his awaiting SUV in a plain black t-shirt, unable to protect himself from the chilly city air.
Wearing a mask around his face, Smollett looked stoic as a group of at least four bodyguards — all dressed in black — guided him to his vehicle. Surrounding Smollett on all sides, the security team prevented cameras and reporters from getting too close to the newly-freed man.
Last week, Smollett was sentenced to 150 days behind bars following his conviction on five felony counts of faking his own hate crime and falsely reporting the attack to police. The ex-Empire star screamed as he was being taken into custody, “I am NOT suicidal … I am innocent … if anything happens to me when I go in there I did not do it to myself.”
He spent four days in the psych ward over concerns about his mental state. He later spent two days in the jail’s general population.
As Radar reported, Smollett was forced to pay a $150,000 bond before being released. “Rather than attempt to meet his burden of showing good cause for his immediate release, Mr. Smollett makes only cursory, woefully undeveloped arguments. Each fails to demonstrate good cause to stay his jail sentence,” the state’s response, released only hours ago, read.
The actor can now rest comfortably at home while his legal team continues their fight.
Smollett has always maintained his innocence, claiming the 2019 incident was a homophobic and racist attack and not a staged hoax as ruled by a 12-person jury.
The star has his friends, family, and Hollywood on his side with several A-listers speaking out in support. Beyoncé‘s mom, Tina Knowles, was the latest celebrity to publicly push for Smollett’s freedom.