'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty

'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty

'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty

Smollett's legal team entered the plea Thursday at a courthouse in Chicago, while the Empire actor and singer looked on silently.

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".

Jussie Smollett has pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct, maintaining his innocence amid allegations that he faked a possible hate crime against himself earlier this year.

What's insane, though, is that Jussie's on-screen character, Jamal, was dealing with issues with the media in last night's episode.

In January, Smollett claimed that he was attacked by two masked men who beat him, put a rope around his neck, dumped a chemical on him, and yelled "This is MAGA country!"

The Empire actor is accused of lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack earlier this year.

"As far as we can tell, the scratching and bruising that you saw on his face were most likely self-inflicted", Johnson alleged.

Osundairo brothers claim Jussie paid them
Ola and Abel Osundairo claim they were paid by Jussie Smollett to pull off the alleged attack. Instagram

In a video posted to the official Empire YouTube channel on March 13, a new episode is teased, but Smollett is nowhere to be found - sans a split second out-of-focus shot.

He was charged in February with felony disorderly conduct. "(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".

"What is unexpected, however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts against Jussie..."

This week, Smollett's attorney Mark Geragos went in-in on the Chicago Police Department over the headline-generating charges.

"The fact of an indictment was not unexpected", the statement read. Details in some of those statements were different, the indictment says.

Jussie Smollett continues to maintain his innocence. The judge granted a $100,000 bail, and Smollett paid a $10,000 bond. "We stand behind the work of detectives and refer any comment on indictment to prosecutors".

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