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After 19 Months In Men’s Prison, CeCe McDonald Released

CeCe McDonald, a Minnesota transgender woman who was sentenced to 41 months in prison for stabbing a man during a transphobic attack, has been released over a year early. Updated: Watch video of CeCe’s release.

CeCe McDonald, a Minnesota transgender woman who was sentenced to 41 months in a men’s prison for fatally stabbing a man who attacked her during a hate crime, was released Monday, a Minnesota prison official confirmed with BuzzFeed.

McDonald will continue to be under the supervision of the Minnesota Department of Corrections until the completion of her 41-month sentence, according to Michael Friedman, executive director of the Legal Rights Center, which represented McDonald in court last year.

She was released from the Minnesota Correctional Facility–St. Cloud around 8:30 a.m. CT, an official at the prison said.

McDonald with trans activist and Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox, who has created a documentary about McDonald’s story, moments after her release. Facebook: lawrencetrichardsonmn

McDonald, who identifies as female, was sentenced to 41 months in a men’s prison facility last spring for the stabbing death of Dean Schmitz. McDonald and a group of friends were walking near a grocery story late on the night of June 5, 2011, when they were allegedly accosted by a group of people shouting racist and transphobic comments at them. According to McDonald’s testimony, a fight broke out in which a bottle was smashed on her face and, ultimately, she stabbed Schmitz with scissors in what she said was an act of self-defense.

She was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and in May 2012, accepted a plea bargain with reduced charges of second-degree manslaughter. Throughout the case, supporters around the world rallied behind McDonald, calling her incarceration unjust and her placement in a men’s facility discriminatory.

McDonald plans to issue a public statement concerning her release, and has asked her supporters to allow her to spend her first days “in privacy with people she feels close to,” according to her blog.

Update - 1:15 p.m. ET. Watch CeCe’s release:

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