Indicted on 16 counts, Empire actor Jussie Smollett finally pleaded not guilty at his hearing on Thursday, March 14. Accused of having instigated a false racist attack against his own person, the 36-year-old actor is being prosecuted, among other things, for false testimony and “disorderly conduct”. Allegations he refutes alongside his lawyer Tina Glandian, thereby pleading not guilty for all of the charges against him.
Actor J. Smollett has pleaded not guilty to false testimony charges
Supported by a few fans when he arrived in court, the actor continues to deny having set up a scheme to make him the alleged victim of a racist attack perpetrated at least in January on a street in Chicago. In order to show its good faith, the defense wanted the presence of the cameras during the hearing in order to thwart the many “fake news” of which it claims to be a victim and which would be relayed by the media since the beginning of the case..
Jussie Smollett attending the March 14 hearing
After the wave of indignation that followed the revelations of the alleged attack, the Chicago Police Department’s investigations gradually undermined the veracity of the comedian’s testimony, before declaring, on February 21, that lawsuits were about to be brought against him. Several elements identified by investigators thus shifted Smollett from the status of victim to that of accused. One of the officials in charge of the case subsequently claimed to have arrested two suspects who turned out to be acquaintances of the comedians and who claimed during questioning that the latter would have engineered everything and paid the two individuals to simulate an assault..
Chicago police suspect actor of plotting attack he claimed to be the victim of
At the end of the hearing during which Jussie Smollett thus maintained his innocence, the American judge decided to relax the freedom regime which had been granted to him in exchange for a deposit of $ 10,000, by authorizing it to leave the state of Illinois from time to time in order to consult his lawyers in New York and California. The next hearing has been set for April 17.
The Empire comedian can now leave Chicago under certain conditions to prepare his defense for the next hearing to be held on April 17