Jussie Smollett appears in court

Lawrence Kim
March 14, 2019

"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has plead not guilty to multiple charges of disorderly conduct.

The judge will then likely ask Smollett to enter a plea.

Smollett's next hearing was scheduled for April 17.

Smollett was initially charged with one count of lying to the authorities on February 20.

Prosecutors allege that Smollett, who is black and gay and plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox TV show, hired two friends to help him stage the attack on him in downtown Chicago early on the morning of January 29.

Actor Jussie Smollett will appear in court Thursday for a second time this week after he was indicted on 16 felony counts for allegedly staging a hate crime and filing a false police report. 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.

Smollett's attorney Mark Geragos called the charges "prosecutorial overkill" in a statement last week.

The 36-year-old actor, who is free on $100,000 bond, has vehemently denied the allegations.

A week before the alleged attack, Smollett told authorities he received a threatening letter at work.

Smollett arrived at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse shortly before 9 a.m., greeted by a handful of supporters holding signs reading "I Stand With Jussie" and "I Believe Jussie Smollett". Activist Wisdom Cole led a few chants in support of the actor, the black community and the LGBT community. He comes from an activist family.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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