Jussie Smollett entered a plea of not guilty on Thursday in a Chicago courtroom on charges he lied to police when he reported that he was the victim of a hate crime earlier this year.
The Empire actor was initially charged with disorderly conduct via the class 4 felony false report allegation and later indicted on 16 felony counts for allegedly lying to authorities about an attack that took place in January wherein he claimed he was targeted by two Donald Trump supporters and beaten because he is African-American and homosexual.
Chicago detectives later determined that the actor allegedly set up the highly publicized attack to further his career. He was subsequently arrested and charged. Smollett is out on $100,000 bail.
The actor and his attorneys deny he had anything to do with the assault other than being the victim of a hate crime.
According to cops, two brothers helped Smollett orchestrate the faux assault and then worked with detectives to build the department’s case against the actor.
Smollett did one interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts after the assault report but has since gone off the radar, only speaking through his attorneys.