Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty To Restored Charges
Style Magazine Newswire | 2/24/2020, 11:49 a.m.
By DON BABWIN Associated Press
Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty Monday to restored charges that accuse him of staging a racist, homophobic attack against himself last year in Chicago and then falsely reporting to that the phony attack was real.
A somber looking Smollett, 37, entered a Cook County courthouse wearing sunglasses and sporting a beard, flanked by his legal teams and surrounded by reporters.
His lawyer, Tina Glandian, entered the not guilty pleas on his behalf to six counts of felony disorderly conduct. She also told Judge James B. Linn that she has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to halt the case.
Linn set a $20,000 personal recognizance bond, which means Smollett does not have to pay any of it. He was not taken into custody. The next court date is March 18.
Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of the charge in the same courthouse last year, just weeks before the Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office abruptly announced it was dismissing the case, angering police and City Hall.
Special Prosecutor Dan Webb, a former U.S. attorney who was appointed to examine the state’s attorney’s office’s handling of the case, represented the state. Foxx’s office is not involved in the new case against Smollett.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the defense motion filed with Illinois’ high court argues that the appointment of the special prosecutor who restored charges was legally flawed.
Smollett has repeatedly denied police allegations that he staged the attack to get attention and further his career.
Smollett, who is black and gay, told police that two masked men attacked him as he was walking home in the early hours of Jan. 29, 2019. He said they made racist and homophobic insults, beat him and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing, and that at least one of his attackers was a white man who told him he was in “MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”