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Jussie Smollett’s team is trying to spring the actor from jail while his appeal is heard. His attorneys have filed court paperwork alluding to the idea that he is in harm’s way as long as he is behind bars.
In an emergency motion, which is being described as a “docketing statement,” filed on Friday and obtained by Fox News Digital on Monday, lawyers for the former “Empire” star, 39, are asking a judge for a stay regarding Smollett’s 150- day sentence and/or to grant the actor bail pending the status of his court appeal.
“Mr. Smollett has become the 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,” the filing reads. On Monday, TMZ shared alleged “harassing” messages to Smollett’s siblings aimed toward the actor.
“Mr. Smollett anticipates he will most likely be assigned to segregated incarceration or protective custody, both euphemisms for solitary confinement; a situation which could have extraordinary damage on his mental health,” the filing continues. “As a result, any custodial setting poses a safety and health danger to the life of Mr. Smollett.”
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The Cook County Sheriff’s Office said Smollett is being held in protective custody, typical for inmates “who may potentially be at risk of harm due to the nature of their charges, their professions or their noteworthy status.”
Smollett has his own cell monitored by security cameras and an officer stationed at the door and wearing a body camera, the sheriff’s office said. Smollett is able to have “substantial time” in common areas to use the phone, watch TV and interact with staff, but other detainees won’t be in common areas with him.
Smollett was immediately recommended in Cook County Jail in Illinois following his sentencing hearing. According to a sworn affidavit from a doctor that was included in the filing appealing for his release, Smollett is at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 while carrying out his five-month term due to a compromised immune system.
“I have been asked to provide an analysis regarding whether incarcerating Mr. Jussie Smollett in an Illinois jail or prison poses a potentially deadly risk to his health from an epidemiological and medical perspective,” the affidavit of Dr. Michael D. Freeman reads.
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“It is my opinion that the incarceration of Mr. Smollett, in jail or prison, poses a substantially increased risk top his health,” it states, adding that given the fact as of March 6, the coronavirus pandemic “had caused more than 445 million cases and approximately 6 million deaths worldwide, making it the deadliest pandemic in recent history,”… “incarceration in a jail or prison setting poses a heightened danger to Mr. Smollett’s health when taking his current health status, including compromised immunity, into account .”
On Saturday, Jocqui Smollett, Jussie Smollett’s brother, said he has since been moved to the psych ward due to “being at risk of self-harm”
“I want to make it clear that he is in no way, shape, or form at risk of self-harm,” Jocqui Smollett said. “He wants to let folks know that he is very stable, he is very strong, he is very healthy and ready to take on the challenge that…has been put up against him.”
Jocqui Smollett warned against the media and others spreading “false information.” “So please, make sure you all spread facts. We really need our people to support us,” he said.
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After being ordered into custody to begin serving 150 days in jail, the actor addressed the court one last time – despite the fact he said prior to having his sentence read that he had nothing to say.
Smollett stood up and affirmed his innocence in a passionate declaration to Cook County Judge James Linn, saying, “I’m not suicidal.”
“I respect you, your honor,” Smollett said as he placed his hands together in a gesture toward the bench. “I respect your decision. Jail time? I am not suicidal. … If anything happens to me in there I did not do it to myself!”
Smollett was then surrounded by sheriff’s deputies before he was led away from the courtroom – but not before raising his right fist in the air on the way out.
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Linn also sentenced Smollett to 30 months of felony probation. Smollett was also ordered to pay $120,106 in restitution to the city of Chicago.
Fox News’ Janelle Ash and The Associated Press contributed to this report