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US Actor Jussie Smollett Posts Bail, Released from Jail


"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, rear center, leaves Cook County jail following his release in Chicago, Feb. 21, 2019.

U.S. actor Jussie Smollett was released from jail Thursday, after posting bond that was set at $100,000.

The actor appeared in court in Chicago, Illinois, where the judge set bond and demanded he surrender his passport before being released from custody. Smollett and members of his family left the courthouse surrounded by a swarm of reporters, but offered no comment.

Police said Smollett turned himself in around 5 a.m. Thursday, after the Chicago police department announced charges against him of felony disorderly conduct and making a false police report.

WATCH: Actor Charged With Filing False Report

Police Charge Empire Actor for Staging Racist Attack
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​The 36-year-old black openly-gay actor on the U.S. television drama Empire created a social media storm last month when he told police on Jan. 29 that two apparent supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump had struck him, put a noose around his neck and poured bleach over him after he visited a Chicago sandwich shop.

In a tweet Thursday, Trump denounced Smollett. "What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?" he said, referring to his 2016 campaign slogan "Make America Great Again."

Smollett received an outpouring of support from celebrities and lawmakers, but police immediately found inconsistencies in the actor's story.

As part of a three-week investigation, police say they examined security cameras located throughout the area where the alleged attack occurred. Police brought in two brothers for questioning, but they were released after two days and were no longer considered suspects. Police said Smollett paid the brothers $3,500 to stage the attack.

A Feb. 21, 2019 booking photo released by Chicago Police Department shows 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett, who turned himself in for making a false police report.
A Feb. 21, 2019 booking photo released by Chicago Police Department shows 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett, who turned himself in for making a false police report.

At a news conference Thursday, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters that police believe Smollett faked the attack as a publicity stunt because he was dissatisfied with his salary.

Johnson did not hide his contempt for Smollett's alleged actions:

"Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hate and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own profile? How can an individual who's been embraced by the city of Chicago, turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?"

Johnson called the actor's alleged deception a scar that Chicago didn't deserve. He said absolute justice would be for Smollett to admit what he did and apologize to the city of Chicago.

Smollett has not yet entered a plea. The charge against him carries a penalty of up to three years in prison, though former Cook County prosecutor Andrew Weisberg told The Associated Press news agency that judges rarely throw defendants in prison for making false reports, opting instead to place them on probation.

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