Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty in Hoax Assault Case

Chicago Illinois. Smollett stands accused of arranging a homophobic racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his

Is the Jussie Smollett Case Enough to Bring Down "Empire?"

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

Smollett is accused of lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two men on January 29 in downtown Chicago. With all the drama surrounding him and his legal situation, there has been talk of the show not continuing further, which has yet to be confirmed.

He was charged in February with felony disorderly conduct.

According to Deadline, the actor pleaded not guilty in front of the grand jury in Chicago today, shortly after he arrived at court.

According to a tweet from Chicago's CBS affiliate, Smollett will be allowed to travel to NY and Los Angeles without asking the court permission as he awaits trial. He is accused of filing a false police report. But the tide began to turn just days later, when police announced that the trajectory of the investigation had changed, and that Smollett would be treated as a suspect. Police and prosecutors have said that attack was a hoax, but Smollett's attorneys said they want the public to see the evidence, or lack thereof, in the case.

Fox cut Smollett's character in "Empire" after he was arrested. He is charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct. "What is unexpected, however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts".

Chicago Illinois. Smollett stands accused of arranging a homophobic racist attack against himself in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with his
Nuccio DiNuzzo Getty Images

"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. Otherwise, Smollett can not leave IL without the court's permission while he is free on bail, and Watkins admonished the actor to be present an on-time for all of his upcoming court dates.

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

"The fact of an indictment was not unexpected", the statement read.

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

Smollett's legal team does not yet appear to have issued new comments following the arraignment, but in a previous statement they reaffirmed his claims of innocence and chided the legal system for what they perceive as a target attack.

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