Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty to 16 Charges that He Faked a Hate Crime Against HimselfJavonni Brustow
Photo Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski / Reuters
Empire star Jussie Smollett reported to the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago this morning in Chicago for his arraignment on 16 new charges that he staged his attack. He plead not guilty on all charges. He was indicted last week on March 8th for lying to police over two instances, one charge each. Judge Steven Watkins informed him he needed to be present for each trial, with his next date in cout being mid-April. Until then, Smollett asked for permission to travel to New York and L.A., which he was granted permission to do so long as he gives 48 hours notice prior to traveling and to check in within 24 hours of returning.
Smollett appeared in court Tuesday asking for permission to have cameras in court as he wanted the public to see his evidence. He wasn’t required to show up but this is him showing initiative. A representative for Smollett told NBC News that his appearance was to “show confidence in his innocence.”
“He will do everything he needs to do,” crisis management expert Anne Kavanaugh said. “He will go the extra mile to cooperate with the process.”In the end, he won permission to have cameras in the courtroom. “There has been a lot of misinformation in this case that has been presented as fact and evidence against Mr. Smollett, which is demonstrably false,” said Tina Glandian, the attorney for the actor. “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, and we look forward to complete transparency and the truth coming out,” Glandian said.
The 16 indictments follow the previous charge he received in February for disorderly conduct that landed him a day in prison, a $100,000 bail which he paid a $10,000 bond. He was subsequently ordered to turn over his passport and remain under supervision until the case is adjudicated.
“Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense,” Smollett’s attorneys said in February.
The subsection of the Illinois law states: “A person commits disorderly conduct when he or she knowingly … (4) Transmits or causes to be transmitted in any manner to any peace officer, public officer or public employee a report to the effect that an offense will be committed, is being committed, or has been committed, knowing at the time of the transmission that there is no reasonable ground for believing that the offense will be committed, is being committed, or has been committed.”
Smollett’s character was written out of the last two episodes of Empire, but the showrunner Brett Mahoney has described dealing with this as being an emotional rollercoaster. Reports state that Smollett’s character will be out of the country at the end of the season, but the future of the show as a whole has been up in the air. Usually Empire is renewed in January and now in the middle of March, the show has yet to be renewed. It appears the network is waiting out Smollett’s case to determine whether to move forward or not.
JUSSIE SMOLLETT IN COURT: #JussieSmollett arrives at a courthouse in Chicago, to enter his plea over charges accusing him of lying to the police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. pic.twitter.com/l2MNs4H6dp
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 14, 2019
Jussie Smollett is back in court. He is expected to enter his plea and a judge will be assigned to the case.
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) March 14, 2019