Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to charges he lied about alleged attack

DEREK HENKLE  AFP  Getty Images DEREK HENKLE AFP Getty Images
Freda Brock | 14 March, 2019, 20:39

Lawyer Tina Glandian entered the plea on behalf of the 36-year-old actor during a hearing in Cook County Circuit Court after Judge Steven Watkins was assigned to oversee the case, including the trial.

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. Smollett is next scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, April 17. The charges all are Class 4 felonies, the lowest category of felony offense under IL law.

"This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines", Geragos said. On Friday, a grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct - one for each supposed lie he told police - for allegedly staging his own hate crime.

Smollett, who is free on bond, maintains his innocence. A lawyer for the brothers, Gloria Schmidt, claims it was for both. Prosecutors allege that Smollett paid the men $3,500 to stage the attack, in an apparent bid for sympathy. Chicago police pushed back and accused Smollett of faking the letter as well.

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Jones, who has been with NFL Network since 2012, said this is the Beckham she hopes the world will get to know in Cleveland. He added that it appears the Giants want the first overall pick in 2020, which is hard to argue with right now.

Smollett, who is black and openly gay, had told police he was attacked as he was walking home around 2 a.m. on January 29. Details in some of those statements were different, the indictment says.

Smollett has maintained that he is a victim and denied all allegations that he staged the incident.

Police initially arrested the brothers on February 13, after they were recognized from surveillance footage from near the scene of the alleged attack. "The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election", the statement added. "(4) Transmits or causes to be transmitted in any manner to any peace officer, public officer or public employee a report to the effect that an offense will be committed, is being committed, or has been committed, knowing at the time of the transmission that there is no reasonable ground for believing that the offense will be committed, is being committed, or has been committed".

It has already been announced that Smollett's character won't appear in the final two episodes of the season, and TMZ reports it will be explained that he is "out of the country".

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