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

Is the Jussie Smollett Case Enough to Bring Down

Judge to be assigned to Jussie Smollett case during court hearing today

"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty in an IL courtroom on Thursday to disorderly conduct charges over allegations he staged a hate crime and lied to police.

Smollett's attorney entered a not guilty plea on behalf of the 36-year-old actor, who stood next to his attorney with his hands behind his back. He was in court Tuesday for a hearing to determine whether a judge should allow cameras in court.

Chicago Police have opened an internal investigation into media leaks in the case, something Smollett's legal team will likely use in court.

Watkins granted Smollett's request to be allowed to meet with lawyers in NY and California, but said the actor must give the court at least 48 hours' prior notice.

"We welcome cameras in the courtroom so that the public and the media can see the actual evidence and what we believe is actually going to be the lack of evidence against Mr. Smollett".

Osundairo brothers claim Jussie paid them
Ola and Abel Osundairo claim they were paid by Jussie Smollett to pull off the alleged attack. Instagram

Smollett was charged in February with the felony offence of filing a false police report over an alleged homophobic and racist attack in January.

Smollett found fame on Fox musical drama Empire, but was removed from the last two episodes of the show's latest season amid the controversy. The counts in the indictment obtained by CNN say Smollett gave statements to a Chicago police officer after the incident and to a detective. "What is unexpected, however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts". Details in some of those statements were different, the indictment says. He has denied all allegations against him. Smollett, who is free on bond, maintains his innocence.

Smollett, who is accused of staging an attack against himself that he blamed on two homophobic, racist Trump supporters, and then lying about it to police, appeared in court yesterday as his lawyer, Tina Glandian, argued in favor of allowing cameras in the court room.

"Jussie Smollett knew that at the time of this transmission there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed", the indictment states.

"Jussie adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption", the lawyer, Mark Geragos, said last week. The decision was made to "avoid further disruption on set", producers said.

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