Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty by accusation leveled against him by Chicago police of staging a fake hate crime for personal profit arraignment hearing on 16-count indictment.
The Empire actor held his head high as he arrived Cook County courthouse Thursday morning. He was accompanied by some members of his family as he strode quickly into the courthouse, covering his eyes with a pair of sunglasses.
In a 16-count indictment charging him with disorderly conduct and making a false report, Smollett is accused of lying to police and making up a story that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two men in the early morning hours of Jan. 29 in Chicago.
One of Smollett’s legal counselors, Tina Glandian, entered the plea on Smollett’s behalf.Prior to the arraignment, Judge Steven G. Watkins was assigned to oversee Smollett’s case. Watkins made a little change to the terms of Smollett’s bond, saying he will enable Smollett to travel Los Angeles and New York to meet with lawyers without first formally seeking for court approval
The 36-year-old, who insists he’s innocent, plead not guilty to the 16 felony counts against him. If convicted, Smollett Smollett faces a limit of 48 years in jail.
Smollett huddled with his attorneys at the courthouse for more than 30 minutes after the hearing. He and his legal team left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.
The actor’s legal team said Tuesday that they needed cameras in the court so the open could see the evidence. Celebrity defense attorney Mark Geragos, who joined Smollett’s Chicago-based legal team in late February, contended that the overall media inclusion has denied Smollett of the assumption of guiltlessness. He said he was not astounded by the prosecution.