Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to lying about attack

Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to lying about attack

USA television actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges he lied to police about being the victim of a racist, homophobic hate crime.

Smollett is expected to enter his plea before Watkins after a short recess.

Smollett's next hearing was scheduled for April 17.

With lawyers and family in the Cook County courthouse, Smollett's attorney, Tina Glandian expectedly plead "not guilty" for the subdued actor to the 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct. A source told ET at the time that Smollett chose to come to court on Tuesday - though he wasn't required to - because he wanted to be as transparent as possible, and that he looks forward to the evidence being presented in court.

Police said the two brothers wore gloves during the staged attack, and did punch Smollett, but the scratches and bruises on Smollett's face most likely were self-inflicted. The counts in the indictment obtained by CNN say Smollett gave statements to a Chicago police officer after the incident and to a detective.

One of Smollett's attorneys, Mark Geragos, responded to the indictment in a statement to ET.

Smollett is charged with lying to Chicago police about the January attack in the city's Streeterville neighborhood.

Osundairo brothers claim Jussie paid them
Ola and Abel Osundairo claim they were paid by Jussie Smollett to pull off the alleged attack. Instagram

Smollett maintains his innocence. They became cooperating witnesses and were released without charges.

"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". He has denied all allegations against him.

"As more evidence, such as text messages, phone records, social media records, bank records, surveillance video and the receipt from the purchase of the rope was obtained by investigators, the investigation shifted from a Hate Crime to a Disorderly Conduct investigation [against Smollett]", prosecutors explained in their bond proffer.

The subsection of the IL law states: "A person commits disorderly conduct when he or she knowingly".

Smollett has been suspended from the show and was written out of the final two episodes of this season.

"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.

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