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Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to disorderly conduct charges

14 March 2019

The "Empire" actor, 36, will be arraigned before a judge and enter a formal plea.

Outside the courthouse on Thursday, about a dozen supporters gathered with signs, chanting that his prosecution was unjust. 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. The next court date was scheduled for April 17.

"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.

"There has been a lot of misinformation in this case that's been presented as fact and evidence against Mr. Smollett that is demonstrably false", his attorney Tina Glandian said after a hearing Tuesday in Chicago, as her client walked quickly past the media scrum. "And we look forward to complete transparency and the truth coming out".

Smollett, who is black and openly gay, had told police he was attacked as he was walking home around 2 a.m. on January 29.

Police said, in reality, Smollett had paid Ola and Abel Osundairo to stage the attack.

In an indictment returned by a grand jury last Thursday, Smollett, who is black, openly gay and plays a gay musician on Fox's hip-hop drama, was charged with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct alleging he gave false accounts of an attack on him to police investigators. After an investigation by the Chicago Police, Smollett was found to have orchestrated the attack on himself, paying two brothers to jump him, pour bleach on him and tie a noose around his neck.

The brothers are not facing charges. Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said police have the check.

Police at the time said the attack was a publicity stunt because the actor was upset about his pay on the show. Smollett has denied the attack was a hoax.

Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to disorderly conduct charges