Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty in alleged hate crime hoax

14 March, 2019, 19:12 | Author: Cecil Buchanan
  • DEREK HENKLE  AFP  Getty Images

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.

"Yes, sir", Smollett said in a soft voice as the judge instructed him that he would next return to court on April 12.

Prosecutors allege Smollett, who is black and gay, staged the attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career.

An attorney for the Osundairo brothers, Abimbola "Abel" and Olabinjo "Ola", has said a $3500 check the actor gave the brothers was for both personal training and to stage an attack. Prosecutors said one had supplied Smollett with "designer drugs" in the past. In the report filed in late January, Smollett told authorities that he had been jumped while walking through downtown Chicago just past midnight.

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.

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

Smollett will be allowed to travel to NY and California to meet with his lawyers as long as he notifies the court 48 hours ahead of time. Glandian said she would welcome cameras because "demonstrably false" evidence has been presented against her client.

Cameras were allowed in the courtroom Thursday, though there was no live feed of the proceedings.

A small group of fans rallied in support of Smollett outside the courthouse Thursday, according to local news reports.

Fox cut Smollett's character in "Empire" after he was arrested.

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