Empire actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not responsible Thursday to allegedly submitting a false police report and staging a hate crime.
Smollett instructed Chicago police that within the early morning hours of Jan. 29 he was attacked by two males who yelled anti-gay slurs, threw a bleachlike chemical on him, put a rope round his neck, and referenced President Trump’s “Make America Nice Once more” slogan.
In a February interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, Smollett, who’s black and brazenly homosexual, maintained his innocence, saying he was “pissed off” that individuals doubted he was attacked.
“At first it was a factor of like, pay attention, if I inform the reality then that’s it, ’trigger it’s the reality,” Smollett mentioned of his skeptics. “Then it turned a factor of like, oh, how will you doubt that? Like, how do you not imagine that? It’s the reality.”
Earlier this month, a grand jury in Prepare dinner County, Illinois, Smollett on 16 felony counts, after discovering there was sufficient proof of him mendacity to a number of police officers and submitting the false report.
“Jussie Smollett knew that … there was no affordable floor for believing that such offenses had been dedicated,” the grand jury mentioned final week when it indicted Smollett.
When Smollett’s alleged assault was initially reported, the case made nationwide headlines and folks supported the actor. As police continued to analyze, it was unsure how a lot proof of the assault there truly was.
“Allegations towards Mr. Smollett are shameful & if confirmed, they’re an affront to the folks of Chicago who embraced him as a neighbor & revered him as a task mannequin,” Chicago police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi tweeted.
Mark Geragos, a lawyer for Smollett, mentioned in an announcement final week that the fees are “nothing greater than a determined try and make headlines” so as to distract from the inner investigation launched to analyze the leaks to the press and invasion of privateness allegations.
Geragos additionally known as the variety of expenses overkill, and mentioned the indictment was “redundant and vindictive.”
In the meantime, the way forward for Smollett’s function on Fox’s Empire stays unsure. The community has mentioned his character Jamal shall be minimize from the ultimate two episodes of the season, however he shall be included in episodes filmed up till then. Representatives for When reached on Thursday, Fox had no remark.
A consultant for Smollett didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark Thursday.
Smollett’s subsequent courtroom date was scheduled for April 17.