Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to hate attack hoax charges
CHICAGO, USA – US television actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty on Thursday, March 14 to charges he lied to police about being the victim of a racist, homophobic hate crime.
He is accused of sending himself a threatening letter and hiring two acquaintances to stage a street attack in downtown Chicago, complete with homophobic and racial slurs, while invoking Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan.
News of the attack in January attracted widespread shock and support for the actor, who is gay and black.
Smollett has maintained his innocence and his attorney Tina Glandian earlier this week said the case against him is mired in "misinformation."
"There has been a lot of misinformation in this case that has been presented as fact and evidence against Mr. Smollett, which is demonstrably false," Glandian said Tuesday, March 12.
Smollett found fame on Fox musical drama Empire, but was removed from the last two episodes of the show's latest season amid the controversy.
The next court hearing was set for April 17. – Rappler.com