Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty to 16 Charges, Lying to Police

Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty to 16 Charges, Lying to Police

Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty to 16 Charges, Lying to Police

The 36-year-old actor's lawyer, Tina Glandian, entered the plea Thursday on Smollett's behalf after Judge Steven Watkins was assigned to oversee the case, including the trial.

The actor appeared in court earlier this week when prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to allow cameras during Thursday's hearing.

We'll continue to keep you updated as we're sure we'll be hearing more about the case ahead of his upcoming April court date.

- Police say Smollett turned himself in to face a felony charge of disorderly conduct, which could bring up to three years in prison. The charges all are Class 4 felonies, the lowest category of felony offense under IL law.

This week, Smollett's attorney Mark Geragos went in-in on the Chicago Police Department over the headline-generating charges.

Smollett returned to the small screen Thursday night on Empire, but his future on the Fox show remains up in the air.

But in a press conference following Smollett's arrest, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department Eddie T. Johnson claimed that the actor staged his alleged attack to promote his career, and because he was "dissatisfied" with his Empire salary.

The actor's plea comes just a month and a half after his original police report grabbed national attention.

What's insane, though, is that Jussie's on-screen character, Jamal, was dealing with issues with the media in last night's episode.

"Mr. Smollet is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing", the statement began. When reporting the January attack, Smollett claimed that he was assaulted by two masked men who yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, poured what he believed was bleach over him and put a noose around his neck.

"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: ".

Later developments cast doubt on Smollett's account, including the questioning of two suspects - a pair of Nigerian brothers, one of whom worked as a personal trainer on a music video of Smollett's - who were later released without being charged.

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