Former "Empire" star Bryshere Gray has been cuffed once again -- this time for allegedly violating his probation ... after pleading guilty last year to aggravated assault.
According to legal docs obtained by TMZ ... cops in Maricopa, AZ were called by a woman last week, claiming the 2 were seeing each other but telling the officer "his behavior was escalating and she was concerned for her safety."
The docs say the woman claimed Gray threw a box of food at her and pulled her hair ... she also told cops about other instances where he'd shout at her.
Officers say Gray had multiple run-ins with law enforcement ... including a domestic-related disturbance call last month.
Gray allegedly failed to inform his probation officer about these incidents ... which is why he was hit with a probation violation. A judge signed a warrant and he was arrested.
Jussie Smollett still insists he did not lie about the homophobic and racist attack, because IF he did he would be a total piece of s**t -- and he claims everyone knows he's not that.
The actor dug in his heels Wednesday morning on Sway's SiriusXM show, talking about why he feels he got screwed in court. As Jussie sees it, if you buy what the jury said -- that he flat out lied -- that would mean we all found out "someone is exactly the opposite of who they claim to be."
No argument there.
However, he went on to explain that committing such a nefarious lie would mean he'd exploited the pain and fears of both Black people and the LGBTQ community -- and Jussie says, "I'm not that motherf***er."
Of course, his stunning statement flies in the face of all the evidence presented in Cook County court before he was convicted and sentenced, back in March, to 150 days.
Speaking of which, Jussie also talked about his time behind bars ... explaining why he stopped eating the whole time he was in Cook County Jail.
He says fasting is something his family always does to gain clarity, and he was uncertain about how long he'd be in jail. Remember, despite the 150-day sentence, Jussie had immediately asked the judge to let him out on bail while he filed an appeal.
Jussie says, "I have never in my life, at least in my adult life, been as clear of mind as I was for those 6-and-a-half days."
What's unclear about Jussie's clarity is how long he would have continued fasting if the judge hadn't let him out, and also ... what exactly he gained clarity about during that time.
In any event, he says he won't allow Hollywood studios or casting directors to derail his career going forward -- he's got a plan for that. What he didn't address is what happens if his appeal fails, and he has to go back to jail and finish out his sentence.
Jussie Smollett might’ve gone straight from his jail cell to the studio ... because he just dropped a new song where he directly addresses his court case.
The former “Empire” star released a single Friday dubbed, “Thank You God,” and some of the lyrics are very interesting, considering his recent circumstances.
Jussie sings ... “Some people chasing that clout / Just remember this ... this ain’t that situation / You think I’m stupid enough to kill my reputation?”
Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.
The song comes on the heels of Jussie’s jail release pending his appeal. He’s been out for about 3 weeks, and seemingly put the song together in that time.
Jussie also sings ... “It’s like they’re hell-bent on not solving the crime / Taking out the elements of race and trans and homophobia that’s straight taking lives / But turn around and act like I’m the one that killed the strides.”
He dedicates the song to “the people who kept it real, who kept it true” ... and he says he’s donating all profits from the track to the Rainbow Push Coalition, Secure the Bag Safety and the Illinois Innocence Project.
Fox 32 Chicago
As you know ... a jury found Jussie guilty of 5 of the 6 felony counts against him for lying to Chicago police about being the victim of a racist, homophobic attack ... and a judge sentenced him to 5 months behind bars.
But, Jussie was released from jail March 16 while he tries to get his sentence for the hoax attack overturned.
Jussie says music is the best way for him to channel his thoughts right now ... and it’s a pretty emotional song.
6:25 PM PT -- Jussie just walked out of jail in Chicago ... and he was flanked by a bunch of security guards as he was whisked away into a waiting SUV and drove off into the night.
There was a media circus Wednesday outside the Cook County Jail, with dozens of reporters and cameras waiting for Jussie to be released from custody ... and he walked right by without saying a word.
Jussie's legal team talked, though, and they had quite a lot to say ... railing against the judge who sentenced him to jail time, claiming the sentence was unconstitutional and draconian.
There was finally some insight on what nearly a week in jail was like for Jussie ... his lawyers said when they were talking to him at one point through a glass barrier it looked like Jussie had given up and lost hope in the constitution.
Fox 32 Chicago
One of Jussie's attorneys, Tina Glandian, tells TMZ ... "We are gratified that Jussie will be back with his family and loved ones and look forward to a dispassionate review and reversal of the serial injustices visited upon him."
Jussie Smollett is going free -- at least for now -- while he tries to get his sentence for the hoax attack overturned.
The appeals court ordered Jussie's release during the appeal process. He's being released from Cook County Jail on his own recognizance, but if he misses any future hearings it'll cost him $150,000. It's unclear when exactly he'll be walking free.
Clearly, the state isn't happy with the decision ... its response to the ask for release reads, in part, "Rather than attempt to meet his burden of showing good cause for his immediate release, Mr. Smollett makes only cursory, woefully undeveloped arguments. Each fails to demonstrate good cause to stay his jail sentence."
As you know, Jussie had begun serving his 5 months last Thursday -- and immediately after the judge sentenced him he was defiant ... shouting he was innocent and raising his fist in the air as he was taken out of court in handcuffs.
His defense team and family members never stopped pressing for his release, though ... claiming Jussie was in physical danger while behind bars. They cited racist and homophobic threats they'd received, and also said Jussie was immunocompromised ... and highly susceptible to contracting COVID-19 while in jail
2:00 PM PT -- A rep for the Sheriff's office tells TMZ, "Mr. Smollett’s housing unit was changed Monday to a different cell within Division 8. He was moved from that cell because Cermak Health Services needed his cell for another detained person. This was a decision made by the medical professionals. Mr. Smollett was never restrained to a bed or anything else in the cell. The bed was never equipped with restraints."
They continue, "Mr. Smollett remains housed in his own cell with officers stationed at the open door to his cell to ensure that he is under direct observation at all times. As with all detained persons, Mr. Smollett is entitled to have substantial time out of his cell in the common areas on the tier where he is housed."
Jussie Smollett is out of the psych ward at Cook County Jail ... something his brother believes only happened because fans applied public pressure.
Jocqui Smollett thanked people Monday night on social media for their support in the "Free Jussie" movement. He says Jussie's removal from the psych ward is a big step forward ... and gets him out of a restrained bed and into a normal one.
He adds, "Cook County doesn't really move until they get bad publicity ... keep continuing to call Cook County Jail checking in on him and keep saying that you believe he should be free."
Jocqui says the pressure added on the county is what got Jussie moved, and he thinks continued force can make him a free man once again.
As we've reported, Jussie was put in the ward because the area houses high-profile inmates, according to law enforcement sources. Jocqui expressed concern immediately, saying official paperwork stated his brother was at risk of self-harm ... something he thinks is B.S.
Jussie even explained, repeatedly in court, that he is not a suicidal person. He was immediately taken to jail after his sentencing to start his 150 days.
Jussie was ordered to be placed under protective custody while serving his 5-month sentence -- something requested by Jussie's team. In addition to jail time, he also was given 30 months of felony probation, $120K in restitution, and $25K in fines.
Emmett's cousin, Deborah Watts, the co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, tells us Taraji's heart is in the right place -- namely, that Black people and other POC are unfairly treated in the criminal justice system.
Taraji made the point while Jussie is serving jail time for a crime that wasn't violent ... nobody did any time (or was even found guilty) in Emmett's case all those years ago, suggesting race was at play in how Jussie was sentenced.
Watts doesn't quite make that leap -- not wanting to comment on the fairness of Jussie's conviction.
Big picture ... she absolutely agrees that BIPOC are disproportionately incarcerated compared to white people for the same sorts of offenses -- something she says is proven in data ... and something she thinks Taraji was trying to spotlight.
To that end ... Watts tells us she appreciates TPH's support and for getting Emmett's name back into the public, because his case was never officially solved.
Of course, many will still disagree with Taraji's premise -- that Jussie was sent to jail simply because he's Black.
Jussie Smollett's lawyers have wasted no time demanding his release from jail -- at least while his appeal plays out --- claiming he risks being harmed (physically and microbially) every second he stays behind bars.
The 'Empire' actor's legal team filed an emergency motion Monday asking a judge to spring Jussie from behind bars while his appeal is pending -- arguing that the potential cons of him staying locked up in Cook County far outweigh any benefits.
The crux of their case here is that Jussie's family has been on the receiving end of what they say is a barrage of harassing messages and phone calls aimed at Jussie ... which they say is emblematic of the harm that might actually befall him if he remains locked up.
To hammer this home ... Jussie's team offers up a video taken by the Smollett family which they say shows a stranger calling them with disgusting sentiments about what should happen to their brother as he serves his 5-month sentence.
They claim the clip -- which is laced with racist and homophobic slurs -- is just one example of what they say has been a deluge of hate sent their way -- and they fear that'll translate into real-world violence against their brother on the inside.
There are other reasons they say he should be out ... for one, they attach a sworn affidavit from a doctor who states Jussie is at a higher risk of catching COVID due to a compromised immune system ... while citing positive case rates in jails and prisons across the country.
On top of this ... Jussie's lawyers argue that because he's being held in protective custody -- which they say is akin to solitary confinement -- his mental health will deteriorate.
Big picture, they continue to reiterate all the points they made in court in trying to get the case tossed in the first place -- including the argument that he's already been punished for all this ... so the whole thing amounts to unconstitutional double jeopardy.
But, while they sort out all that in his official appeal, they argue he shouldn't have to be in jail ... because his sentence may, in fact, be deemed invalid at the end of the day.
The "Empire" star -- who obviously appeared opposite Jussie through much of the show -- took to IG this weekend with an impassioned plea on behalf of her friend, posting a photo with the hashtag #FreeJussie ... accompanied by a lengthy caption.
She writes, "I am not here to debate you on his innocence but we can agree that the punishment does not fit the crime. Emmett Till was brutally beat and ultimately murdered because of a lie and none of the people involved with his demise spent one day in jail, even after Carolyn Bryant admitted that her claims were false."
Taraji adds, "No one was hurt or killed during Jussie’s ordeal. He has already lost everything, EVERYTHING! To me as an artist not able to create that in itself is punishment enough. He can’t get a job. No one in Hollywood will hire him and again as an artist who loves to create, that is prison."
Finally, she finishes her sentiment with this ... "My prayer is that he is freed and put on house arrest and probation because in this case that would seem fair. Please #freejussie."
As we told you, Jussie's brother told his followers that his sibling had been placed in the psych ward wing of Cook County Jail -- which we've learned is, in fact, true ... but it's not for the reasons that Jocqui suggested ... namely, that he was there against his will.
Our law enforcement sources tell us it's simply where they house high-profile inmates ... and not just that, but he'll also be in protective custody while there, under a watchful eye.
Now, as for TPH's Emmett Till juxtaposition with Jussie ... she's entitled to her opinion, but it's almost certain not everyone's gonna agree with what she's selling here. Fact is ... they're completely different cases, circumstances and time periods -- and that context matters.
Jussie Smollett has been placed in the psych ward at the Cook County Jail, and his brother says it's because the official paperwork says Jussie is at risk of self-harm.
Jocqui Smollett hopped on Instagram Saturday, saying, "So Jussie is currently in a psych ward at the Cook County Jail. What's very concerning is that there was a note attached to his paperwork today saying that he's at risk of self-harm."
Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.
Jocqui then called B.S. ... "I want to make it clear that he is in no way, shape, or form at risk of self-harm. 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."
A law enforcement source tells TMZ, the reason Jussie is in the psych ward is because it's also the area where they house high-profile inmates.
The former "Empire" actor is now serving his 5-month sentence for faking a racial and homophobic attack on the streets of Chicago. When he was sentenced he told the judge repeatedly that he was not suicidal, so if anything happened to him behind bars it was not self-harm.
Jussie's brother said, "This is not right. This is complete lack of justice. So please, make sure you all spreading facts. We really need our people to support us."
Jussie Smollett will almost certainly escape federal charges for allegedly faking another part of the elaborate hoax that just got him sentenced to 5 months behind bars ... the infamous hate letter.
Federal law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... barring any major future development in the fake hate mail case, the feds will NOT charge Jussie.
As we reported ... the studio received a threatening letter directed at the "Empire" star 8 days before the "attack," with scrapbook-style letters with the warning ... "You will die black f**," along with an image of a noose.
Some authorities believe Jussie sent the racist and homophobic letter to himself, hoping it would put him smack in the middle of the social justice movement.
The feds seem content with the sentence Jussie received after a jury convicted him on 5 felony counts for lying to cops about the incident. He was just sentenced to 150 days in jail with 30 months of felony probation.
Jussie Smollettbelieves there's one overarching reason he was sent to jail, and it's not because of the hoax ... he says it's because he's Black.
Sources with direct knowledge and in constant touch with the "Empire" actor tell TMZ ... Jussie fully expected to get jail time. He told his defense team before sentencing he felt he would be treated more harshly than other defendants convicted of a non-violent crime ... all because of the color of his skin. He thinks it's more evidence of systemic racism in the judicial system.
Jussie told his team after sentencing he was dead-on when he predicted the outcome ... based on the animosity the judge showed toward him. He called it "unfortunate" and "sad."
As you know, the judge read Jussie the riot act, saying the hoax was rooted in a desire for more fame and more attention.
We reached out to the court for comment, and a rep for the Cook County Chief Judge's Office tells TMZ ... "Judges can't comment on pending cases, and it's still pending."
As we reported ... Jussie will be held in protective custody -- as requested -- while serving his time behind bars, with security cameras and an officer with a body-worn camera monitoring his cell.
Our sources say Jussie spoke out in court about not being suicidal because he wanted to make it clear to the public that if something were to happen to him in jail, it was foul play ... and our sources referenced the Jeffrey Epstein outcome, and that was what was on Jussie's mind when he made the comment.
Jussie was taken into custody following Thursday's sentencing, and we're told he spoke with his defense team Friday ... telling them he's OK and filled with hope.
11:49 AM PT -- A rep for the Cook Co. Sheriff's Office tells us Smollett's cell will be monitored by security cameras as well as an officer with a body-worn camera. They tell us Jussie will be able to have time outside of his cell in common areas, where he can watch tv and use the phone -- but other inmates will not be in the common area at that time.
They tell us, "The safety and security of all detained individuals, including Mr. Smollett, is the Sheriff’s Office’s highest priority."
Jussie Smollett will be held in protective custody -- as requested -- while serving his time behind bars.
Judge James Linn ordered the actor's 150-day jail sentence, and specified he'll serve it under protective custody. According to legal docs, obtained by TMZ, Judge Linn says Smollett and his team requested the protection.
The goal of protective custody is to protect an inmate from any form of harm while they serve their time.
Smollett was immediately taken into custody following Thursday's sentencing. A rep for Cook County Sheriff’s office told us Smollett was given a medical and mental health assessment by Health services, as well as a security assessment upon getting locked up.
As we reported, Smollett erupted after his sentence -- which also included 30 months of felony probation, $120K in restitution and $25K in fines -- was handed down ... reiterating he isn't a suicidal person, and if something happens to him while he's in custody, he wants the world to know he didn't do it to himself.
Jussie's maintained his innocence the entire time -- even after being found guilty -- and still insisted he did not hire the Osundairo brothers, Abel and Ola, to stage the "attack" on a chilly Chicago night.
The City of Chicago has also sued Jussie in a separate civil action over the resources spent investigating his claims, which is being pegged at $130,000.
Jussie Smollett's courtroom outburst isn't landing for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot ... who is praising his 5-month jail sentence, condemning him for staging a hate crime and hoping his case is a warning to others.
After Jussie's sentencing, where he shouted he's innocent and left with a fist in the air, Mayor Lightfoot was totally unswayed, saying ... "The city feels vindicated in today's ruling that he is being held accountable and that we will appropriately receive restitution for his actions."
She also reminded everyone what that restitution will cover -- "The malicious and wholly fabricated claim made by Mr. Smollett resulted in over 1,500 hours of police work that cost the city over $130,000 in police overtime."
6:49 PM PT -- A rep for Cook County Sheriff’s office tells TMZ — Jussie will be given a comprehensive medical and mental health assessment by Health services, a security assessment and will be placed in appropriate housing. He will also be tested for COVID at intake and will be offered vaccination if he has not been previously vaccinated or gotten the booster.
6:37 PM PT -- We’ve just obtained Jussie’s mugshot, he's stone-faced. As the judge said during the hearing, he will begin his sentence immediately.
Jussie Smollett was just sentenced to 150 days in Jail for his elaborate hoax on the streets of Chicago ... and Jussie went off on the judge, telling him if he dies in prison it's not suicide. It got so intense, Jussie was taken into custody and left with his fist in the air.
Judge Linn just handed down the sentence ... which also includes 30 months felony probation, $120,106 restitution to the city of Chicago and will pay a $25,000 fine.
Judge Linn pointed to Jussie's testimony during trial, when he talked about his life ... and he talked about social justice and how much it meant to him and his family. And, the judge noted the irony and hypocrisy that Jussie engineered a hate crime hoax.
Judge Linn says Jussie wasn't motivated by money ... he did it because he craved the attention and thought he could boost his profile by tapping into the social justice movement in America. He said he just wanted to make himself more famous, throwing himself a "national pity party."
The judge called Jussie arrogant, selfish, narcissistic, and he did damage to real victims of hate crimes. Victims are always reluctant to come forward, and Jussie did them no favors. The judge says Jussie lied ... lied and lied repeatedly about the incident.
The judge made it clear he was not sentencing Jussie to satisfy public opinion ... it was purely a matter of what Jussie did. The judge said there was nothing he could do that would be worse than what he did to himself, saying Jussie destroyed his life by his shenanigans.
Jussie declined to speak in open court before sentencing ... his lawyer advised against it.
Jussie's 92-year-old grandma got on the stand to plead for leniency, and she launched on the media for not reporting the story accurately. She called him a "justice warrior," who has been steeped in social activism for years. She told the judge, if he sends Jussie to prison he should send her along with him.
The lawyer for the City of Chicago made it clear ... this was not a victimless crime, saying more than 30 Chicago cops investigated the case and had to review more than 1500 hours of surveillance video. They went door to door in the freezing cold to get to the bottom of the case. They amassed more than 1,000 in overtime, and it caused fatigue and stress. The lawyer also said Jussie has made real hate crime victims hesitant to come forward.
Jussie's lawyer made a series of arguments during the hearing, imploring the judge to throw out the verdict. Notably, his lawyer argued because of the pretrial publicity by City officials -- including the Police Commissioner -- Jussie did not enjoy the constitutional protection of being presumed innocent. The judge rejected that argument.
The judge also turned thumbs down on the argument Jussie was entitled to a public trial and that, his lawyer argued, was not the case. The special prosecutor fired back, even during a pandemic, the trial was open to reporters and also, the defense didn't want cameras in the courtroom during the trial, so it's rich they're making this argument now.
Jussie Smollett wants a do-over in court, he's asking for a new trial in Chicago and taking issue with the initial jury selection process -- but he'd also willing to accept a not-guilty verdict.
The actor's defense team just filed new legal docs, obtained by TMZ, asking the judge to reverse the verdict and find him not guilty of disorderly conduct for faking a police report ... or at least give him a new trial.
Remember ... a jury in Illinois decided Jussie was lying to cops about being the victim of a homophobic and racist attack. The jurors found the "Empire" actor guilty of 5 of the 6 felony counts against him, including disorderly conduct charges or allegedly providing a false report to cops.
In the docs, Jussie claims the court violated his constitutional rights when it prevented his defense team from actively participating in the jury selection process.
Jussie claims his lawyers were not allowed to ask questions of potential jurors ... and his defense claims the jury pool for the high-profile case was tainted.
He's also claiming prosecutors showed a pattern of racism in selecting jurors.
In the docs, Jussie's defense also claims the judge wrongfully barred the media and public from the courtroom ... and he says prosecutors pressured witnesses to give false testimony.
That's not all ... Jussie's legal team also says the judge wrongfully limited the defense questioning of witnesses.
Jussie's legal team signaled an appeal was coming after the verdict was reached back in December ... and now they've followed through.