Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty in alleged hate crime hoax

  • Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty in alleged hate crime hoax

Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty in alleged hate crime hoax

"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has plead not guilty to multiple charges of disorderly conduct.

Smollett's next hearing was scheduled for April 17.

The judge will then likely ask Smollett to enter a plea.

In court today, the actor has been given a new set of travel restrictions, being allowed to travel freely between NY and Los Angeles to meet with his lawyers.

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.

In an indictment returned by a grand jury last Thursday, Smollett, who is black, openly gay and plays a gay musician on Fox's hip-hop drama, was charged with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct alleging he gave false accounts of an attack on him to police investigators. If convicted, the "Empire" star could face three years in prison, though it is also possible he would be sentenced to probation.

Smollett's attorney Mark Geragos called the charges "prosecutorial overkill" in a statement last week.

Osundairo brothers claim Jussie paid them
Ola and Abel Osundairo claim they were paid by Jussie Smollett to pull off the alleged attack. Instagram

The brothers confessed to the plot, police said. Smollett has denied the attack was a hoax.

His legal team said it welcomes cameras in court due to what it described as "misinformation" leaked to the media since he reported his attack in January.

Smollett maintains his innocence.

Another key piece of evidence that will be scrutinized is the $3,500 check Smollett wrote the Osundairo brothers.

A week before the alleged attack, Smollett told authorities he received a threatening letter at work. A lawyer for the brothers, Gloria Schmidt, claims it was for both. Amid the usual Lyon family intrigue that the episode unveiled, at one point Smollett's Jamal actually said "I don't know if y'all been reading the blogs and all the foolishness, but it's kinda been a tough week". "'Here's payment for the other thing we talked about'". A decision on whether he will remain with the show beyond that has not been made. Sign up here for Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle's newsletter.

Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox?