Actor Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to staging hate crime

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Another lawyer assigned to Jussie's case, Tina Glandian, reportedly filed the non-guilty plea on his behalf.

According to prosecutors, Smollett wrote a $3,500 check to two brothers and gave them $100 to buy the rope, ski masks, gloves and red baseball caps used in the supposed January 29 attack.

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 charges stem from Smollett's alleged faking of a racially motivated attack on him.

Jussie Smollett made his second court appearance of the week on Thursday in Chicago, where he pleaded not guilty to the 16 felony counts he was indicted on earlier this month.

Smollett has denied staging the attack and maintains his innocence.

Earlier this week, Twitter erupted with opinions over Empire's mid-season premiere, as Smollett's onscreen character also dealt with personal drama.

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The Empire star will be allowed to travel to NY and Los Angeles without asking court for permission.

Smollett will next be due in court on April 17.

It was also recently learned that Smollett's friends and family tried to influence his case and called up the Cook County prosecutor asking that she convince the Police superintendent to get the FBI on the case, citing major leaks within the department as a detriment to the investigation.

Smollett reportedly told police that two men approached him and began hurling racist and homophobic slurs at him.

The 36-year-old actor arrived at the courthouse shortly before 9 a.m., the station reports, greeted by a handful of supporters holding signs reading "I Stand With Jussie" and "I Believe Jussie Smollett, "reports CBS Chicago". Police initially investigated the case as a possible hate crime. He is charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct. Details in some of those statements were different, the indictment says. The judge granted a $100,000 bail, and Smollett paid a $10,000 bond. "The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election", the statement added.


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