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Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty to 16 Counts of Disorderly Conduct

The 36-year-old was indicted by a grand jury last week.

Jussie Smollett Arrested for Filing False Police Report
Jussie Smollet's mugshot

Jussie Smollett entered a not guilty plea Thursday after he was charged with staging a hate crime against himself and filing a fake police report, reports CNN.

A grand jury indicted the Empire star on 16 counts of disorderly conduct last week. Smollett’s defense attorneys said the numerous charges against the actor were “redundant and vindictive.”

The 36-year-old, who denied any wrongdoing, appeared at a court hearing Tuesday to determine if cameras would be allowed in his upcoming court appearances. His legal team welcomed the idea of the media having access to the hearings.

According to CNN, Tina Glandian, Smollett’s attorney, said, “There has been a lot of misinformation in this case that has been presented as fact and evidence against Mr. Smollett, which is demonstrably false. We welcome cameras in the courtroom so that the public and the media can see the actual evidence and what we believe is actually going to be the lack of evidence against Mr. Smollett. And we look forward to complete transparency and the truth coming out.”

The openly gay actor told police he was attacked by two men who used racial and homophobic slurs in January. According to Smollett, the men yelled, “This is MAGA country” as they beat him.  He accused the assailants of placing a noose around his neck and pouring a chemical, which was speculated to be bleach, on him.

Two brothers, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, were arrested last month in connection with the assault. They were later released after police discovered “new evidence,” writes TMZ.

According to sources, the brothers said Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the hate crime. Surveillance video from a beauty supply store showed the two men purchasing ski mask, sunglasses and a red hat.

An attorney for the two men issued an apology statement to a local CBS reporter. “My clients have tremendous regret over their involvement in this situation, and they understand how it has impacted people across the nation, particularly minority communities and especially those who have been victims of hate crimes themselves.”

Smollett’s next court date is scheduled for April 17.

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