Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty to New Charges Over Alleged Attack
UPDATE: Jussie Smollett appeared in a Chicago courtroom on Monday, where he plead not guilty to new felony charges accusing him of staging and falsely reporting the attack against him last year, NBC News reports.
Smollett was released on his own recognizance and agreed to appear in court at a future date.
Jussie Smollett appears to be facing more legal troubles.
The Empire star was indicted by special prosecutor Dan Webb on Tuesday in Chicago, the Cook County Clerk’s Office confirmed via local ABC outlets. This legal update is in connection to Smollett’s alleged attack in the city one year ago. According to a press release, “A Cook County grand jury returned a six-count indictment charging Jussie Smollett with making four separate false reports to Chicago Police Department officers related to his false claims that he was the victim of a hate crime, knowing that he was not the victim of a crime.”
Back in Jan. 2019, Smollett claimed that, shortly after arriving in Chicago from New York City, he was walking when two offenders approached him and gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him. The offenders allegedly began to batter Smollett with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on him.
However, the case later took a turn as Chicago Police Department’s Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi announced in Feb. 2019 that Smollett “is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by #ChicagoPolice.” According to Guglielmi, the shift to suspect was “for filing a false police report (Class 4 felony).” He also added, “Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.”
Where Jussie Smollett’s Case Stands 1 Year After His Alleged Attack
In late Feb. 2019, the Cook County’s State Attorney’s Office then approved charges against Smollett, who was charged with Disorderly Conduct and Filing a False Police Report. Throughout the months, however, Smollett maintained his innocence. In the weeks to follow, Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report.
Then, in late March, all criminal charges against Smollett were dropped.
“Today, all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and his record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him,” Smollett’s attorneys, Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes, said in a statement at the time. “Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgement.”
“Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions,” the statement continued. “This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result.”
“Jussie is relieved to have this situation behind him and is very much looking forward to getting back to focusing on his family, friends and career,” the statement concluded.
E! News has reached out to Smollett’s rep for comment on Tuesday’s indictment.
(This story was originally published on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 at 2:39 p.m. PST)
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