Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty to Faking Hate Crime Attack
Jussie Smollett is denying all the charges against him.
The Empire star appeared in Cook County court on Thursday (Mar. 14), where he pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly faking his own attack. The actor, who's maintaining his innocence, is accused of falsifying a police report and staging an entire hate crime attack in order to advance his career.
He allegedly hired brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to attack him on January 29 and then subsequently lied to Chicago police. He claimed two masked men attacked him, shouted homophobic and racist slurs, as well as threw bleach on him and hung a noose around his neck. He also said they yelled "This is MAGA country" at him.
At first, police authorities treated the incident as a hate crime until they found discrepancies in Smollett's story. The brothers, who were arrested and taken into custody, said he had paid them $3500 to help him stage the attack. The investigation then shifted against Smollett, who could now face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.
Following his plea, Smollett's lawyer revealed cameras will be allowed in the courtroom as they want the public and the media to see the "lack of evidence" in the case, adding that they look forward to the truth coming out.