Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Jussie Smollett: 'Empire' Actor Pleads Not Guilty on 16-Count Indictment

Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to charges that he staged a hoax Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to charges that he staged a hoax
Angelica Greene | 15 March, 2019, 04:18

Actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty in court Thursday to accusations that he staged a hate crime and filed a false police report. But the tide began to turn just days later, when police announced that the trajectory of the investigation had changed, and that Smollett would be treated as a suspect.

Mark Geragos, one of Smollett's attorneys and a CNN legal analyst, said the actor maintains his innocence and called the indictment "prosecutorial overkill".

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".

It's being said he will need to attend every court date from here on out, but is allowed to travel to Los Angeles and NY for meetings with his lawyers.

The indictment says Smollett told police he was attacked around 2 a.m.by two men who used racial and homophobic slurs.

"Empire" star Jussie Smollett is sticking to the script.

- Smollett, who is also an R&B singer, gives a concert in West Hollywood, California, opening with an emotional speech in which he said he had to play the show because he couldn't let his attackers win.

Smollett is accused of lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two men on January 29 in downtown Chicago.

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

- Police say Smollett turned over some, but not all, of the phone records detectives requested as part of their investigation.

- Police release the two men without charges after arresting them on suspicion of assaulting Smollett and holding them for almost 48 hours.

She stated, "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".

State's Attorney Kim Foxx has asked Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to turn the case over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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

The Empire actor was arraigned on a 16-count felony indictment, of which he has denied all charges. Prosecutors said one had supplied Smollett with "designer drugs" in the past.

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