Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to lying about attack 16 hrs

Jussie Smollett 1

Jussie Smollett 1

"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty Thursday to 16 counts of disorderly conduct, almost a week after he was indicted for allegedly lying to police about a hate crime.

Cameras were rolling during the court hearing Thursday, as Smollett entered his plea at the Cook County Courthouse at 26th and California.

- Police say they've reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance camera footage, including of Smollett walking downtown, but none shows the attack. Watkins agreed to allow Smollett to travel to California and NY to meet with his lawyers and set his next hearing for April 17.

The 36-year-old actor was charged with 16 felony counts last week for allegedly masterminding a false attack to gain publicity and win a bigger paycheck. The charges all are Class 4 felonies, the lowest category of felony offense under IL law.

"This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines", Geragos said.

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A judge is expected to be assigned to Jussie Smollett's disorderly conduct case when the "Empire" actor returns to court Thursday. Far from the racist and homophobic assault Smollett first describes in late January, the texts detailed preparing money to buy supplies, buying drugs, setting up meetings and ensuring that MAGA hats and chants were part of the assault.

- Producers of "Empire" dispute media reports that Smollett's character, Jamal Lyon, was being written off the show.

Smollett was arrested by Chicago police shortly after claiming that he was beaten up in a racist and homophobic attack, as they suspected that he faked the attack "to promote his career". Police say the heavily redacted files aren't sufficient. We knew that there is no way they would expose their evidence to a public airing and subject their witnesses to cross-examination. Smollett, who is free on bond, maintains his innocence. According to police, he led authorities to believe that his attackers were white when in fact his attackers were Nigerian-American men who he allegedly paid to attack him.

"Meanwhile, following the news of his indictment, Chief Communications Officer of the Chicago Police Department Anthony Guglielmi tweeted: ".

Smollett has maintained that he is a victim and denied all allegations that he staged the incident.

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