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Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty To All 16 Felony Counts

Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty To All 16 Felony Counts

A confident Jussie Smollett arrived at a Cook County courthouse for his arraignment on Thursday (March 14). As the disgraced Empire actor approached the building, he was greeted by the sounds of several protesters shouting, “We are here to support black people. We are here today today to support LGBTQ people.”

Shortly after proceedings began, Smollett and his legal team entered a plea of not guilty on all 16 felony counts. According to TMZ, he’ll be required at every upcoming court date and allowed to travel to Los Angeles and New York for appointments with his attorneys.

However, he’ll have to give the courts 48-hour notice and check back in within 24 hours when he returns to Chicago.

In January, Smollett told police he was brutally attacked by two men hurling racial and homophobic slurs at him. As the details surrounding the alleged assault started to take shape, investigators came to the conclusion the attack was staged.

As a result, Smollett was charged with a disorderly conduct felony. But earlier this month, a grand jury handed down the 16-count indictment, which Smollett’s attorney referred to as “overkill.”

Smollett is expected back in court next month.