Words: Steve Brown
Jussie Smollett has pleaded not guilty to six new charges of disorderly conduct.
The Empire star claimed he was hospitalised following an attack in Chicago last year and said two white men tied a rope around his neck, poured a corrosive substance over him and made reference to President Donald Trump's 2016 election slogan 'Make America Great Again'.
Chicago Police later arrested two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, who they claimed Smollett had paid $3,500 to stage the attack because he was unhappy with his salary on Empire.
However, Chicago Police Department and other authorities later accused the actor of staging the attack himself for publicity, in which Smollett had denied, and charges were dropped.
Earlier this month, the BBC reported Smollett now faces six counts of disorderly conduct, special prosecutor Dan Webb said in a statement.
In his statement, Webb said he was going to further prosecute the actor.
Smollett was charged with ‘making four separate false reports to Chicago Police Department officers related to his false claims that he was the victim of a hate crime, knowing that he was not the victim of a crime,’ Mr Webb said.
He went on to say that his office have obtained ‘sufficient factual evidence’ to argue why prosecutors were wrong to drop the case last year.
And now, while appearing in court yesterday (February 24), the actor reportedly pleaded not guilty to the new charges.
CBS Chicago reported Smollett’s attorney, Tina Glandian, entered the plea on his behalf.
Webb reportedly requested $10,000 bail for Smollett – the same bond from his original case – but Cook County Judge James Linn said he didn’t see Smollett as a flight risk, and granted him a recognizance bond, which doesn’t require him to post any money to be released ahead of trial.
Smollett is set to return to court on March 18.