Jussie Smollett expected in court for his arraignment

Oscar Cross
March 15, 2019

The actor unexpectedly showed up at a procedural hearing on March 12 for his California-based primary defense lawyer Mark Geragos to enter the necessary paperwork to represent Smollett in the state of IL. The plea of not guilty to charges of filing a phony police report came after Judge Steven Watkins was randomly assigned to preside over the high-profile case.

Smollett has maintained his innocence and his attorney Tina Glandian earlier this week said the case against him is mired in "misinformation".

Police said the two brothers wore gloves during the staged attack, and did punch Smollett, but the scratches and bruises on Smollett's face most likely were self-inflicted.

Smollett has been indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct by a Cook County grand jury.

Fox cut Smollett's character in "Empire" after he was arrested.


Smollett, 36, first reported the attack in January, saying that two men attacked him while shouting racist and homophobic slurs at him. The counts focus on allegedly false statements made to two different Chicago Police officers. Details in some of those statements were different, the indictment says.

"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". On Tuesday, a lawyer for the actor said that she would "welcome cameras in the courtroom" during a trial "so that the public and the media can see the actual evidence and what we believe is the lack of evidence against Mr. Smollett and we look forward to complete transparency and the truth coming out". Allegations against Mr. Smollett are shameful and if proven, they are an affront to the people of Chicago who embraced him as a neighbor & respected him as a role model.

"Empire" producers chose to remove Smollett's character, Jamal, from the final two episodes of the season.

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".

"Jussie Smollett knew that at the time of this transmission there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed", the indictment states.

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