Actor Smollett denies renewed hoax charges

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 24, 2020 - Duration: 01:34s

Actor Smollett denies renewed hoax charges

Former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty on Monday to renewed felony charges that he made false reports to Chicago police about being attacked in a hate crime that he is accused of staging in a bid to advance his career.

Yahaira Jacquez reports.

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Actor Smollett denies renewed hoax charges

A chaotic scene on Monday as former 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett arrived for his arraignment at a Chicago courthouse, where his entourage appeared to push away members of the media, some of whom then tripped and fell.

Appearing before a judge, Smollet pleaded not guilty on Monday to six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about being attacked in a hate crime he's accused of staging.

The new charges, announced this month, came at the recommendation of a special prosecutor, who was assigned to the case after a judge ruled the state's attorney's office had not properly handled it the first time around.

Smollett, who is African-American and gay, ignited a social media firestorm after he told police in January of last year that two masked men had thrown a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him and shouted racial and homophobic slurs.

Police arrested Smollett a month later, accusing the actor of making it up and paying two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack.

He was subsequently charged in a 16-count indictment, but in a surprising move, the charges against him were dropped, drawing criticism from then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city officials and leading to the appointment of the special prosecutor.

Smollett was released on a $20,000 bond.

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