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Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to lying about attack

Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to lying about attack

The "Empire" actor, 36, will be arraigned before a judge and enter a formal plea. "And we look forward to complete transparency and the truth coming out".

Smollett has been suspended from the show and was written out of the final two episodes of this season.

"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty in a Chicago court on Thursday to new charges that he falsely reported to police that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic assault on a city street.

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

Prosecutors claim Smollett, who is black and gay, paid two brothers with whom he was acquainted, to carry out a racial and homophobic attack, hoping the incident would advance his career and secure him a higher salary on Empire.

Smollett is charged with lying to Chicago police about the January attack in the city's Streeterville neighborhood.

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Smollett's arraignment hearing followed the midseason premiere of "Empire", which resumed Wednesday. "Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense", Smollett's attorneys said in February. The counts focus on allegedly false statements made to two different Chicago Police officers.

One of Smollett's attorneys, Mark Geragos, responded to the indictment in a statement to ET. Geragos continues, "This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines in order to distract from the internal investigation launched to investigate the outrageous leaking of false information by the Chicago Police Department and the shameless and illegal invasion of Jussie's privacy in tampering with his medical records".

Smollett has denied that he staged the attack and maintains he is innocent.

Judge Watkins approved a request from Smollett's lawyers that the actor be allowed to travel freely to NY and California to consult with his bicoastal legal teams. "We stand behind the work of detectives and refer any comment on indictment to prosecutors".

In a searing live press conference on that same day, CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said it was "shameful' what Smollett allegedly try to pull off and accused him of perpetuating a "hoax".


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