Jussie Smollett Enters Not Guilty Plea

Police claim that Jussie Smollett staged a homophobic and racist attack on himself

Empire actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty Friday to a 16-count indictmentaccusing him of orchestrating a fake hate crime.

- Smollett's family issues a statement calling the attack a racial and homophobic hate crime.

Mark Geragos, one of Smollett's attorneys and a CNN legal analyst, said the actor maintains his innocence and called the indictment "prosecutorial overkill".

Police said the two brothers wore gloves during the staged attack, and did punch Smollett, but the scratches and bruises on Smollett's face most likely were self-inflicted.

Watkins granted Smollett's request to be allowed to leave the state meet with his lawyers in NY and California, but said the actor must give the court at least 48 hours' prior notice.

Not much later, Chicago police revealed they had evidence pointing to the Hollywood star lying about the attack, accusing him of paying his "attackers", all so he could get more attention and score a bigger salary from Empire. When reporting the January attack, Smollett claimed that he was assaulted by two masked men who yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, poured what he believed was bleach over him and put a noose around his neck.

Fox cut Smollett's character in "Empire" after he was arrested.

Smollett's legal team does not yet appear to have issued new comments following the arraignment, but in a previous statement they reaffirmed his claims of innocence and chided the legal system for what they perceive as a target attack.

- Police say Smollett turned over some, but not all, of the phone records detectives requested as part of their investigation. Smollett's character appeared in several emotional scenes, and social media users found irony in one that showed Jamal performing at his former high school: "I don't know if y'all been reading the blogs and all that foolishness, but it's kind of been a tough week", Smollett's character tells the crowd.

- Police release the two men without charges after arresting them on suspicion of assaulting Smollett and holding them for almost 48 hours. Glandian said she would welcome cameras because "demonstrably false" evidence has been presented against her client.

State's Attorney Kim Foxx has asked Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to turn the case over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In February, Smollett was charged with a felony of disorderly conduct and was released on $100,000 bail.

The indictment charges Smollett with 16 counts of disorderly conduct. The decision was made to "avoid further disruption on set", producers said.

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