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Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to charges of lying on police report

The 'Empire' actor claims he was attacked by two white men who put a noose around his neck

By Steve Brown

Jussie Smollet has pleaded not guilty to charges of lying to police about being a victim of a racist and homophobic attack.

The openly gay actor, who was hospitalised following an alleged attack in Chicago on January 29, claimed 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’.

However prosecutors claim that the Empire actor hired two men to stage an attack on him and a grand jury charged him on 16 felony counts relating to the filing of a false police report after claiming he was attacked by two white men.

Sky News report that each count carries a penalty of three years in prison and a $25,000 fine. These came after an initial charge in February of one count of disorderly conduct.

Smollett has denied claims he staged the attack and has continually defended his innocence.

The actor is set to appear in court on April 17.