Jussie Smollett Appears In Court Over 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.

Smollett is charged with lying to Chicago police about the January attack in the city's Streeterville neighborhood.

Actor Jussie Smollett arrives at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 14, 2019.

Smollett is expected to enter a plea later Wednesday before Watkins.

Smollett said "not guilty" as his lawyer entered the plea. A lawyer for the brothers, Gloria Schmidt, claims it was for both.

Smollett also made a court appearance on Tuesday to attend a hearing on whether cameras would be allowed at his hearing today, which the judge did in fact end up allowing.The actor's legal team said they welcomed cameras as a counter to what they called misinformation being leaked to the media.

The actor appeared in court earlier this week when prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to allow cameras during Thursday's hearing.

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

"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. What is unexpected, however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts".

A grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false report. Police say Smollett told detectives that two masked men beat him while hurling racist and homophobic slurs, and that they poured an unknown substance on him and hung a noose around his neck before fleeing.

One of Smollett's attorneys, Mark Geragos, responded to the indictment in a statement to ET. He has denied all allegations against him.

"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.

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.

Judge Watkins approved a request from Smollett's lawyers that the actor be allowed to travel freely to NY and California to consult with his bicoastal legal teams.