Jussie Smollett to Appear in Court on New Felony Charges Over Alleged Attack

Former Empire star Jussie Smollett is expected to make his first court appearance Monday on a set of renewed felony charges in connection to his alleged staged hate crime last year. According to Page Six, Smollett will return to a Chicago court room at 9:30 a.m. ET, where he will be arraigned before Judge LeRoy K. Martin Jr.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Smollett "is expected to learn which judge will be assigned to his new case, enter a plea of not guilty, and have a bond hearing."

The actor will either be released on his own recognizance or held on bail. If convicted, according to Page Six, he faces one to three years in prison, mandatory community service and a $25,000 fine..

Monday's court appearance will come a little more than a year after the Jan. 29, 2019 incident in which Smollett alleged that he was involved in a racist and homophobic attack near his residence in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood. A criminal investigation found that Smollett had allegedly staged the attack, leading the actor to be charged with 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct.

Although all charges against him were dropped in March of that same year, special prosecutor Dan Webb confirmed on Feb. 11 that a Cook County grand jury had returned a six-count indictment of disorderly conduct, which charges 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."

Webb added that "further prosecution of Jussie Smollett is 'in the interest of justice.'"

Responding to the newest development in the case, Smollett's legal team questioned the "integrity of the investigation," stating that the indictment "is clearly all about politics not justice."

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"After more than five months of investigation, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has not found any evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever related to the dismissal of the charges against Mr. Smollett," Smollett's attorney, Tina Glandian, said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight. "Rather, the charges were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence. The attempt to re-prosecute Mr. Smollett one year later on the eve of the Cook County State's Attorney election is clearly all about politics not justice."

Smollett has continued to deny any wrongdoing in the case.