Today (Mar. 14), Jussie Smollet’s attorney formally entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of the Empire star in his disorderly conduct case.
In a small crowded “fishbowl” style courtroom, as described by the Chicago Tribune‘s criminal courts reporter, Megan Crepeau the actor-singer pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct, almost a week after Smollett was indicted for allegedly filing a false police report about an alleged attack.
The actor was greeted by a handful of supporters at Leighton Criminal Courthouse, this morning. They held signs that read “I Stand With Jussie” and “I Believe Jussie Smollett.”
Cook County Judge Steven Watkins granted the actor permission to travel to New York and California to consult with his lawyers, as long as he gives the court’s pretrial services offices notice within 48 hours before travel, according to CBS Chicago. Judge Watkins also told the star that he must be present and prompt for all of his upcoming court dates. Smollett must appear in court again on Apr. 17.
Smollett told police that he was attacked on Jan. 29 by two masked men, who yelled racist and homophobic epithets at the singer, who is black and openly gay. The actor also stated that the two men allegedly put a noose around his neck and poured an unknown chemical on him.
Chicago Police said that Smollett paid Ola and Abel Osundairo, whose lawyers were present during today’s hearing, to stage the alleged attack, which Smollett denied.
Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter @GlennishaMorgan