Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty to multiple disorderly conduct charges.
Smollett was initially charged with a felony count of disorderly conduct in filing a false police report in February, with police accusing him of staging a hate crime attack on himself because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”
A Cook County grand jury later indicted him on 16 felony counts last week in connection with his reporting of the alleged attack.
Smollett reported the incident to police on Jan. 29, claiming to have been beaten by two men who shouted racist and homophobic slurs, pummeled him, put a rope around his neck and poured bleach on him, according to the indictment.
Initially investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, police said new information changed their approach to the case, leading them to accuse him of orchestrating the attack by hiring two brothers who worked on “Empire” to carry it out.
By Damilola Faustino