Jussie Smollett’s lawyers demand his release from jail ‘after sibling receives rape threat’

Jussie Smollett in front of several people and cameras

Jussie Smollett’s legal team is seeking emergency release from jail for the Empire star following alleged threats.

Days after Smollett was sentenced to five months for “selfishly, arrogantly, and narcissistically” staging a hate crime against himself, his legal team has alleged that one of the actor’s siblings received calls threatening to hurt him.

“I hope what they do to that guy in jail – here’s what they’re going to do,” an anonymous caller said in a video shared by the actor’s legal team on Monday (14 March).

“They’re going to take a broom handle and take that little [epletive], shove it in there, and he’s going to go [shrieking sound].”

The threat bears a disturbing similarity to a 1997 incident that saw an NYPD officer, Justin Volpe, sexually assault a man with a wooden stick after he was arrested for disorderly conduct, according to Rolling Stone. Volpe was jailed for 30 years for the attack.

According to the lawsuit, a wave of online hate directed against Jussie Smollett also “no doubt reflects the hatred and wish for physical harm towards [him] which he may experience during incarceration”.

His lawyers argued that he must also be released from prison because he has a compromised immune system so is at risk of catching COVID-19, according to an affidavit seen by TMZ.

Jussie Smollett sentenced to prison

Smollett was sentenced to 150 in prison, given 30 months probation and ordered to pay $145,000 in fines and restitution for staging a homophobic, racist hate crime against himself.

In a blistering speech at his sentencing on 10 March, judge James Linn concluded that the 39-year-old had plotted the con as he “craved the attention”.

Smollett continued to protest his innocence even as the sentence was handed down, and expressed an immediate fear of being harmed in prison.

“I am not suicidal,” he said, adding that “if anything happens” to him in jail, “I did not to it to myself”.

Actor Jussie Smollett is led out of the courtroom after being sentenced at the Leighton Criminal Court Building. (Brian Cassella-Pool/Getty Images)

Smollett’s sentencing capped off a years-long legal saga.

In January 2020, Smollett claimed that two men had subjected him to homophobic and racial slurs before they placed a rope around his neck like a noose and shouted: “This is MAGA country.” They also poured a chemical substance on him, he claimed.

After the ‘attack’, Smollett said, he returned home and a friend reported the incident to the authorities around 40 minutes later. Law enforcement at the time said they were treating the incident as a “possible hate crime”.

The Chicago Police Department raised suspicions around the incident before seeking charges against him in 2019. They were dropped, but a year later Smollett was indicted once more by prosecutors.

It emerged that Smollett, best known for playing Jamal Lyon in Empire, had orchestrated the entire event.

Brothers Abimbola Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo told investigators in 2019 they had been paid $3,500 to attack Smollett.