Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett has pleaded not guilty in the new charges filed against him in Chicago, Illinois, stemming from his previous case. In 2019, Smollett claimed that two men violently attacked him on the street outside his apartment in the city, resulting in a hospital trip to be treated for his wounds. He was later charged by police for allegedly fabricating the story, which he and his legal team have vehemently denied. The charges against Smollett were initially dropped by the state Attorney General, but the new charges come after a judge found the prosecution's decision to be invalid.
Former ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty to renewed felony charges that he made false reports to Chicago police about being attacked in a hate crime that he is accused of staging in a bid to advance his career https://t.co/JwXjIEfqVE pic.twitter.com/TqJ8pkJnxH— Reuters (@Reuters) February 24, 2020
According to the Chicago Tribune, Smollett's lawyers have filed the necessary paperwork with the state's high court, motioning that the new indictment be dismissed on the grounds of double-jeopardy.
Smollett has since been released on his own recognizance, and is scheduled to return to court again on March 18.
Jussie Smollett is expected in court this morning.
“He needs to face the charges. He committed a crime, and he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and we are going to continue to aggressively make him accountable for the wasted police resources..” https://t.co/FMwGU2ovNB— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 24, 2020
Following the initial dropped charges, Smollett's attorney's released a statement, saying, "Today, all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and his record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him. Jussie was attacked by 2 people he was unable to identify on January 29th."
"He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public, causing an inappropriate rush to judgment," the statement continued.
"Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions. This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result," the statement concluded.