Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty To Disorderly Conduct Charges

Article Image Update Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty to 16 Charges Lying to Police

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"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty Thursday to 16 counts of disorderly conduct, almost a week after he was indicted for allegedly lying to police about a hate crime.

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.

Actor Jussie Smollett arrives at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 14, 2019. Smollett has always maintained his innocence.

According to reports, Smollett pleaded not guilty to almost 20 counts of disorderly conduct. A lawyer for the brothers, Gloria Schmidt, claims it was for both.

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A judge is expected to be assigned to Jussie Smollett's disorderly conduct case when the "Empire" actor returns to court Thursday.

The actor appeared in court earlier this week when prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to allow cameras during Thursday's hearing. 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, 36, first reported the attack in January, saying that two men attacked him while shouting racist and homophobic slurs at him. The counts in the indictment obtained by CNN say Smollett gave statements to a Chicago police officer after the incident and to a detective.

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. Details in some of those statements were different, the indictment says.

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Several celebrities and advocacy organizations had rallied behind Smollett, expressing sympathy for him after he told "Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts in mid-February that he would "never be the man that this did not happen to".

Though, Smollett has been written out of the final two episodes of the present fifth season, the actor was front and center in the long since filmed "My Fault Is Past" episode on Wednesday.

"Jussie adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption", the lawyer, Mark Geragos, said last week.

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