Jussie Smollett: 'Empire' Actor Pleads Not Guilty on 16-Count Indictment

Empire actor Jussie Smollett has pleaded 'not guilty' on his 16-count indictment for allegedly [...]

Empire actor Jussie Smollett has pleaded "not guilty" on his 16-count indictment for allegedly faking a hate crime attack.

According to TMZ, Smollett appeared in a Chicago courtroom this morning to enter the plea, and will have to return sometime in April.

Until then, he will be allowed to travel to both New York and Los Angeles in order to meet with his attorneys, but he will be required to give authorities two days notice ahead of time and must let them know when he's returned to Chicago within 24 hours of returning.

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.

"Mr. Smollet is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing," the statement began.

"Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system. The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election," the statement added.

In January, Smollett filed a police report after alleging being assaulted by two men who he claimed attacked him for being a gay black man.

After authorities began to investigate they located two men who Smollett had allegedly been connected to who stated that Smollett orchestrated the entire event and hired them to participate.

This led police to charge him in connection to filing a false police report. Smollett has denied the allegations that he faked the attack.

In the wake of his legal troubles, the actor has been put on leave from his series, Empire. Producers previously revealed that they wrote his character out of the last few episodes of the season.

"The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us" read a joint statement from Empire executives. "Jussie has been an important member of our Empire family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out."

"We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of 'Jamal' from the final two episodes of the season," the statement continued.

If he is convicted of faking the hate crime attack, Smollett potentially faces prison time.