Former Empire star Jussie Smollett has officially pleaded not guilty to restored charges that accuse him of staging a racist and homophobic attack against himself last year in Chicago before then falsely reporting to the police.
According to reports from AP, Smollett, 37, entered a Cook County courthouse on Monday surrounded by his legal team and a flock of reporters. His lawyer, Tina Glandian, entered the not guilty pleas on his behalf to six counts of felony disorderly conduct, also telling 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 and he was not taken into custody.
In the same courthouse just last year, Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of the charge, only a few weeks before the Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office abruptly announced it was dismissing the case. Smollett has repeatedly denied allegations from police that he staged the attack to get attention and possibly further his career.
Throughout this entire process, Smollett has maintained his innocence. He even told reporters last year after the charges were dropped, “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I was accused of.”
The next court date for Smollett’s case is on March 18.