Jussie Smollett has pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about being attacked and will now stand trial.
The 36-year-old actor will return to court in April and will be allowed to travel between New York City and Los Angeles to meet with lawyers.
He was accompanied by some but not all of his family and said nothing as he strode quickly into the courthouse wearing a pair of sunglasses.
He was searched by security before entering the courtroom where he is expected to enter a plea on 16 counts of disorderly conduct. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 48 years behind bars.
Smollett, who insists he is innocent, is accused of paying brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to attack him on January 29. They told police the actor wanted a raise on Empire, the Fox show in which he is one of the central characters.
On Thursday, he spoke only to say ‘not guilty’ when his lawyer entered his plea on his behalf, joining in with her mid-sentence, and to answer ‘yes sir’ as Judge Steven Gregory Watkins told him he had to show up to every day of the trial.
After pleading not guilty on all counts, Smollett left the court with his family without making a statement.
He was heckled on his way out of the courthouse as he got into a waiting car by someone shouting: ‘You f***d up! Lock him up!’
On Thursday, Tina Glandian, one of his attorneys said they ‘welcomed’ the case being open to the public and media.
‘We welcome cameras in the courtroom so the public and the media can see the evidence and we believe is a lack of evidence against Mr. Smollett and we look forward to complete transparency and the truth coming out,’ she said.
The judge granted Smollett permission to travel to California and New York, where his legal team has offices, to meet with them but said he must notify pre-trial services 48 hours before and 24 hours after he returns from any trips.
Glandian was accompanied by two other lawyers from Mark Geragos’ firm. Geragos is a celebrity favorite who has represented Chris Brown and Michael Jackson in the past.
He has spoken publicly since Smollett’s indictment to claim he is the victim of a prejudiced media and police department.
The police department insists its investigation has been above board.
Members of Smollett’s team told the media at the courthouse that his Empire co-star Terrence Howard had planned to attend the arraignment but that his flight was delayed arriving in Chicago.
They said he would likely attend later sessions.
Click here to read more.
Source: Daily Mail