Jussie Smollett: 'Empire' Actor Pleads Not Guilty on 16-Count Indictment

Jussie Smollett: 'Empire' Actor Pleads Not Guilty on 16-Count Indictment

Empire star Jussie Smollett appeared in court on Thursday, where he entered a not guilty plea in his ongoing disorderly conduct case, Deadline reports.

Smollett's lawyer Tina Glandian, entered the plea on Smollett's behalf just hours after Judge Steven Watkins was assigned the high-profile case. After an investigation by the Chicago Police, Smollett was found to have orchestrated the attack on himself, paying two brothers to jump him, pour bleach on him and tie a noose around his neck.

Actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Criminal Court Building after attending a hearing on whether cameras will be allowed in future proceedings of his trial in Chicago, Illinois, March 12, 2019. Prosecutors claimed during a hearing that same day that Smollett had paid two brothers - Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo, who played Jamal's love interest on the Fox drama, and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo, an extra - to stage the attack. "What is unexpected, however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts".

Jussie Smollett continues to maintain his innocence.

"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has pleaded not guilty to the charges accusing him of lying to police about being attacked in downtown Chicago a few weeks ago.

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Smollett is due back in front of a judge for a hearing on April. 17. He is charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct. "We welcome cameras in the courtroom so that members of the media can see the actual evidence - and what we feel is actually going to be a lack of evidence - against Mr. Smollett".

In a statement, Smollett's attorney Mark Geragos said while the indictment was "not unexpected".

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 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. Details in some of those statements were different, the indictment says.

According to prosecutors, Smollett wrote a $3,500 check to two brothers and gave them $100 to buy the rope, ski masks, gloves and red baseball caps used in the supposed January 29 attack. The decision was made to "avoid further disruption on set", producers said.

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