'Empire' actor expected to plead not guilty at hearing

Article Image Update Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty to 16 Charges Lying to Police

Earlier this morning, trial Judge Steven Watkins was assigned to the case and to conduct this morning's arraignment.

Smollett is due back in front of a judge for a hearing on April. 17. Otherwise, Smollett can not leave IL without the court's permission while he is free on bail, and Watkins admonished the actor to be present an on-time for all of his upcoming court dates.

Cameras were rolling during the court hearing Thursday, as Smollett entered his plea at the Cook County Courthouse at 26th and California.

Jussie Smollett continues to maintain his innocence.

The actor is accused of falsifying a police report, and lying to police.

Almost a month and a half after Jussie Smollett claimed he was brutally assaulted in the streets of Chicago, theEmpire actor appeared in court today to enter a plea to multiple charges of having given a false account to the police.

Watkins granted Smollett's request to be allowed to meet with lawyers in NY and California, but said the actor must give the court at least 48 hours' prior notice.

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"There has been a lot of misinformation in this case that has been presented as fact and evidence against Mr. Smollett, which is demonstrably false", said Tina Glandian, the attorney for the actor.

"We look forward to complete transparency and the truth coming out", Glandian said. He told police that two men attacked him, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck.

Smollett was initially charged with a felony count of disorderly conduct in filing a false police report in February, with police accusing him of staging a hate crime attack on himself because he was "dissatisfied with his salary".

Prosecutors allege that Smollett, who is black and gay and plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox TV show, hired two friends to help him stage the attack on him in downtown Chicago early on the morning of January 29.

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".

The brothers are not facing charges.

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