Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to lying about hate-crime attack

Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to lying about hate-crime attack

Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to lying about hate-crime attack

Almost a month and a half after Jussie Smollett claimed he was brutally assaulted in the streets of Chicago, theEmpire actor appeared in court today to enter a plea to multiple charges of having given a false account to the police.

After Smollett pleaded not guilty, Cook County Judge Steven Watkins granted him permission to travel to NY and California to consult with his attorneys, if he provides 48 hours notice to the court's pretrial services office. He scheduled the next hearing for April 17. Police and prosecutors have said that attack was a hoax, but Smollett's attorneys said they want the public to see the evidence, or lack thereof, in the case. A source told ET at the time that Smollett chose to come to court on Tuesday - though he wasn't required to - because he wanted to be as transparent as possible, and that he looks forward to the evidence being presented in court.

In January, Smollett claimed that he was attacked by two masked men who beat him, put a rope around his neck, dumped a chemical on him, and yelled "This is MAGA country!"

A grand jury in Chicago indicted him on 16 felony counts, which his lawyers have called "prosecutorial overkill".

Smollett has maintained his innocence and his attorney Tina Glandian earlier this week said the case against him is mired in "misinformation". Details in some of those statements were different, the indictment says.

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"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett is charged with disorderly conduct, accused of orchestrating a fake hate crime against himself because he was upset with his salary. They became cooperating witnesses and were released without charges. When Watkins warned him to show up on time for each future court hearing or risk jail time, Smollett replied, "Yes, your honor".

It has already been announced that Smollett's character won't appear in the final two episodes of the season, and TMZ reports it will be explained that he is "out of the country".

"Jussie adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption", the lawyer, Mark Geragos, said last week.

The 36-year-old actor was charged with 16 felony counts last week for allegedly masterminding a false attack to gain publicity and win a bigger paycheck. The decision was made to "avoid further disruption on set", producers said.

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