Embattled “Empire” star Jussie Smollett was released on $100,000 bond Thursday afternoon, just hours after being arrested on felony charges stemming from an alleged assault in late January.
During a relatively short court hearing, Smollett was ordered to post $10,000 of the bond immediately. He was also asked to surrender his passport, citing that he is a possible flight risk.
On January 29, Smollett was attacked by brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo. The Chicago Police reported that they have obtained evidence that claims the attack was staged, per the bond proffer that was released after the hearing. Text messages obtained from the actor’s phone laid out how the attack was supposed to happen, including preparing money to buy supplies, buying drugs, setting up meetings and ensuring that MAGA hats and chants were part of the assault.
In a statement released from Smollett’s legal team, they maintain his innocent while also saying that he is being denied due process by the Chicago Police.
“Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing,” the statement read. ” Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system. The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election.”
Smollett turned himself in earlier on Thursday after being charged with multiple felony charges, including filing a false police report. If found guilty, Smollett faces up to three years in jail for disorderly conduct. The actor maintains his innocence, with support from some of his fellow Empire cast, including his on-screen father, Terrence Howard.
20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment has said that they are evaluating the matter and considering all options. His character, “Jamal” has been written off the final two episodes of Season Five, per a statement released by the Empire executive cast.
Smollett’s next court hearing has been set for March 14.