The legal team for actor Jussie Smollett filed a notice of appeal late last week after he was sentenced to 150 days in Cook County Jail and 30 months of probation for staging a January 2019 hate crime against himself.
The former “Empire” actor was convicted of five counts of disorderly conduct for filing fake police reports in December 2021. Smollett has also been ordered to pay a $25,000 dollar fine and $120,106 dollars in restitution to the City of Chicago for investigating the staged assault.
Legal Team Asks The Court To Let Jussie Smollett Post Bail
In court documents obtained by The Blast, Smollett’s legal team is asking the court to either stay Smollett’s sentence and/or grant him bail. The motion was filed on March 11, 2022, a day after Judge James Linn passed his sentence on March 10.
The documents alleged that Smollett had already reached an agreement with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in March 2019, where he was ordered to complete community service and forfeit his $10,000 dollar bond to the City of Chicago. However, he was later charged on February 12, 2020 “based on the same facts as the 2019 case,” the documents claim.
The documents state, “For good cause shown, judicial economy and efficient administration of justice, it is in the best interests of the parties for this reviewing court to stay the enforcement of incarceration of Mr. Smollett, to waive the appeal bond, or in the alternative enter a time for Mr. Smollett to pay a just and reasonable bond.” They allege that “he will be irreparably harmed if he serves a sentence based on convictions which may be reversed on appeal.”
Smollett ‘Has Become A Target Of Vicious Threats’, Court Papers State
In the paperwork, his attorney alleges that “Smollett has become a target of vicious threats in the social media forums which no doubt reflects the hatred and wish for physical harm towards Smollett which he may experience during incarceration.”
Smollett himself anticipated that “he will most likely be assigned a segregated incarceration or protective custody, but euphemisms for solitary confinement; a situation which could have extraordinary damage on his mental health.” They allege that “any custodial setting poses a safety and health danger to the life of Mr. Smollett.”
However, the Cook County Sheriff’s office has insisted that they do not have solitary confinement at the jail where Smollett is being housed, having abolished the practice in 2016.
Cook County Sheriff’s Office Claims That Jussie Smollett Is NOT In Solitary Confinement
After being booked, Smollett was led to his own cell. In a written statement provided by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, they explained that Smollett is “housed in his own cell, which is monitored by security cameras in the cell and by officers wearing a body camera who is stationed at the entrance of the cell to ensure Mr. Smollett is under direct observation at all times.”
However, they added that “Mr. Smollett is not being held in solitary confinement. The use of solitary confinement was abolished in 2016, and any claims that he is being held in this manner is false.”
Their written statement also includes that he is allowed “substantial time out of his cell in the common areas on the tier where he is housed,” which is the same privilege granted to “all detained persons.” During this time, Smollett is able to “use the telephone, watch television, and interaction with staff.”
During the time that Smollett is out of his cell “other detainees will not be present in the common areas,” the statement added.
“These protocols are routinely used for individuals ordered into protective custody who may potentially be at risk of harm due to the nature of their charges, their profession, or their noteworthy status,” the message concluded. “The safety and security of all detained individuals, including Mr. Smollett, is the Sheriff’s Office’s highest priority.”
Legal Analysts Beleive It Is Unlikely An Appeal Will Be Granted For Jussie Smollett
ABC7 Legal Analyst Gil Soffer said that he does not think it is likely that an appeal will be granted in Smollett’s case.
“You see a strong case for appeal when the judge clearly excluded evidence that should have been admitted or admitted evidence that should have been excluded,” Soffer said. “And I don’t see that happening here.”
He also added that Smollett is likely to be safe in jail, given the heightened public interest in his case.
“He’s a high-profile defendant,” Soffer added. “And if there is anyone who’s safe in jail, who the authorities want to make sure is safe in jail, it’s him.”