The "empire" actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty in a courtroom in Chicago from Thursday to the 16 charges arising from an alleged mystification of the hate crime.
Smollett's attorney, Tina Glandian, entered the attempt on behalf of Smollett a few hours after Judge Steven Watkins was assigned the case. The court's next appointment was scheduled for April 17th.
Smollett was initially accused of lying to the authorities on 20 February. Last week, a grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 counts of lying to the authorities – eight counts for what he said at the officer who responded to the January 29th attack report in downtown Chicago, and eight counts for what he later told a detective that he was the victim of brutal racism and homophobia by two masked men.
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Police say that Smollett, who is black and gay, staged the accident because he was unhappy with his salary on the Fox show and wanted to promote his career.
Smollett's lawyer, Mark Geragos, called the allegations "trial murder" in a statement last week
The 36-year-old actor, who is free on a $ 100,000 bond, denied the accusations vehemently.
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A week before the alleged attack, Smollett told the authorities that he had received a threatening letter at work. The Chicago police rejected and accused Smollett of falsifying the letter.
The federal authorities are conducting a separate investigation into that letter.
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"Smollett's Empire" "The father, the actor Terrance Howard, was in court on Thursday to show his support to TV's son Two weeks ago, when other actors were moving away from Smollett, Howard raged against social media users angrily, he also shared a video on Instagram of Smollett playing with his son, Hero, on a private plane .
The addition of another twist to the Smollett saga is a new USA Today report stating that, at the urging of a former senior Obama administration official, Chicago's chief prosecutor asked the policemen to deliver their investigations to the FBI.
Tina Tchen, who worked as the chief of staff of the first Ms. Michelle Obama and is co-founder of the legal defense fund of the Times Up, contacted the lawyer Kim Foxx wrote on February 1st and said c he Smollett's family had "concerns" about the investigation.
At that time, Smollett was still considered by the police as a victim of a hate crime.
"Spoke to the Superintendent Johnson," Foxx sent an email to Tchen on February 1, referring to police superintendent Eddie Johnson. "I convinced him to contact the FBI to ask that they take care of the investigation."
Foxx also joined one of Smollett's relatives, whose name was written in copies of the communication issued by his office.
"I spoke to the superintendent before, he asked the question," Foxx wrote. "Trying to understand the logistics.
The relative replied:" Omg this would be a great victory "
" I have no guarantees, but I am trying, "Foxx wrote.
Foxx eventually withdrew from the investigations before the narrative was reversed and the police said they believed Smollett was behind the alleged attack.
A reminder to the FBI to get a comment from Fox News was not immediately returned.
Fox News Sasha Savitsky contributed to this report.
Matt Finn of Fox News contributed to this report.