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US actor Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to lying to police over attack

Police say Smollett staged the attack in a bid to gain publicity and a more pay.

Jussie Smollett
Jussie Smollett
Image: AP/PA Images

US ACTOR JUSSIE Smollett has pleaded not guilty to charges that he lied to Chicago police about being the victim of a racist, homophobic hate crime.

Smollett (36) – who gained fame on Fox musical drama “Empire” – is charged with 16 counts of felony for allegedly masterminding a false attack in order to gain publicity and increase his pay cheque. 

Instead, the 36-year-old actor, who is black and gay, has been dropped from the last two episodes of the show’s current season, and his future is now in the hands of the court.

Smollett was charged last month with one felony count of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report.

He allegedly sent himself a threatening letter and then hired two acquaintances to stage a street attack in downtown Chicago in late January, complete with homophobic and racial slurs, while invoking Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

According to court documents published online by local media, the 16-count indictment lists the specific statutes Smollett violated by telling police that he’d been attacked when he knew “there was no reasonable ground for believing” that such crimes had occurred.

Comments are closed as the case is before the courts.

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