Chicago Tribune

Judge scolds Smollett over 'vile and despicable' allegations; actor released after posting bond

CHICAGO - A Cook County judge scolded Jussie Smollett as he set bond Thursday at $100,000 on charges that the "Empire" actor staged an attack on himself, falsely claiming that two men called him slurs while placing a noose around his neck and beating him last month in downtown Chicago.

"The most vile and despicable part of it, if it's true, is the noose," said Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr., who is black. "That symbol conjures up such evil in this country's history."

Smollett, 36, was released from Cook County Jail about 3:45 p.m. after a friend in California posted the necessary $10,000 cash, court records show.

Earlier in the afternoon, an attorney for Smollett, Jack Prior, said in court that the actor "vehemently denies" the allegations and that the charged conduct was "inconsistent with Mr. Smollett's character." Prior said Smollett does extensive charity work, does not pose a safety threat and

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