NATIONAL NEWS

Actor Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty To Restored Charges

Feb 24, 2020, 5:26 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 4:49 pm
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 26: Actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Courthouse after his court ...
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 26: Actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Courthouse after his court appearance on March 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. This morning in court it was announced that all charges were dropped against the actor. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (AP) — Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty Monday to restored charges that accuse him of staging a racist, homophobic attack against himself last year in Chicago and falsely reporting to police that the phony attack was real.

His lawyer, Tina Glandian, entered the not guilty pleas on his behalf to six counts of felony disorderly conduct. She also told Judge James B. Linn that she has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to halt the case.

A somber looking Smollett, 37, entered the Cook County courthouse wearing sunglasses and sporting a beard, flanked by his legal team and surrounded by reporters.

“He’s obviously frustrated to be dragged through this process again,” Glandian told reporters after the hearing.

She called the revived prosecution “an ordeal” for Smollett and said he has the support of relatives, some of whom flew out from California to be with him.

“He’s strong, he’s resilient, he’ll get through this, but he’s frustrated,” she added.

Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of the charge in the same courthouse last year, just weeks before the Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office abruptly announced it was dismissing the case, angering police and City Hall.

Smollett’s attorneys also have filed a motion in Cook County court arguing that the refiling of charges violated protections against being charged twice for the same crime, known as double jeopardy. Prosecutors have said double jeopardy does not apply because Smollett was not prosecuted last year.

Linn on Monday set a $20,000 personal recognizance bond, which means Smollett does not have to pay any of it. He was not taken into custody. His next court date is March 18.

Special Prosecutor Dan Webb, a former U.S. attorney who was appointed to examine the state’s attorney’s office’s handling of the case, represented the state. Foxx’s office is not involved in the new case against Smollett.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the defense motion filed with Illinois’ high court argues that the appointment of the special prosecutor was legally flawed.

Smollett has repeatedly denied police allegations that he staged the attack to get attention and further his career.

Smollett, who is black and gay, told police that two masked men attacked him as he was walking home in the early hours of Jan. 29, 2019. He said they made racist and homophobic insults, beat him and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing, and that at least one of his attackers was a white man who told him he was in “MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Weeks later, police alleged that Smollett had paid two black friends to help stage the attack because he was unhappy with his salary as an actor on “Empire,” a Fox series filmed in Chicago that follows a black family as they navigate the ups and downs of the recording industry.

The friends, brothers Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, were among those who attended Monday’s proceedings. If Smollett’s case makes it to trial, they would be the state’s star witnesses. The brothers are bodybuilders and aspiring actors whom Smollett knew from the “Empire” set and the gym.

Their attorney, Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, told reporters after the hearing that the brothers were there to “support the process.”

“They are here because they want the truth to be told. … The brothers are sorry for their involvement and … they’re going to do everything they can to make this right,” she said.

Glandian, Smollett’s lawyer, said she was “surprised” the brothers showed up.

“There was no reason for them to appear in court,” she said.

Glandian has questioned the integrity of the special prosecutor’s investigation, pointing out that Webb’s probe relied on the same detectives who were part of the original investigation despite pending civil claims that Smollett is pursuing against the city and police for malicious prosecution.

Foxx’s handling of the case has become a key issue in her bid for re-election, with her opponents accusing her of having acted haphazardly and indecisively.


Associated Press writer Michael Tarm contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

The wreckage of a car teeters on a buckled roadway in the wake of Hurricane Ian on Sept. 30, 2022, ...
Meg Kinnard and Adriana Gomez Licon, Associated Press

Dozens dead from Ian, one of strongest, costliest US storms

Rescuers continue to search for survivors in flooded homes in Florida after Hurricane Ian's passage earlier this week.
14 hours ago
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a reception to celebrate the Jewish New Year with ...
MATTHEW LEE, FATIMA HUSSEIN and AAMER MADHANI, Associated Press

Biden vows Russia won’t ‘get away with’ Ukraine annexation

The United States and its allies are hitting back at Russia’s annexation of four more Ukrainian regions, slapping sanctions on more than 1,000 Russian individuals and companies.
2 days ago
A dip in suicide rates in 2019 continued into 2020, but the CDC report, released on September 30, s...
Deidre McPhillips, CNN

US suicide rates rose in 2021, reversing two years of decline

A dip in suicide rates in 2019 continued into 2020, but a CDC report released on Sept. 30 shows that 2021 reversed most of that improvement and brought rates back to near-record levels.
2 days ago
FILE - The newly painted Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is seen with t...
Forrest Brown, CNN

Florida theme parks and tourist attractions: What’s open and closed

Walt Disney World and a few other places reopened on Friday, and other major spots aim to reopen this weekend.
2 days ago
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and Chief Justice John Roberts pause for...
MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press

Justice Jackson makes Supreme Court debut in brief ceremony

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has made her first appearance on the Supreme Court bench in a brief courtroom ceremony three days before the start of the high court’s new term.
2 days ago
Rain from Hurricane Ian floods a street on September 30, 2022 in Charleston, South Carolina. Ian hi...
Meg Kinnard and Adriana Gomez Licon, Associated Press

Ian makes landfall again, this time in South Carolina

Hurricane Ian has made another landfall, this time in South Carolina, after carving a swath of destruction across Florida earlier this week.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
Actor Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty To Restored Charges