Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty To 16 Counts Of Disorderly Conduct

Jussie Smollett arrives at Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago

Earlier this morning, trial Judge Steven Watkins was assigned to the case and to conduct this morning's arraignment.

The "Empire" actor, 36, will be arraigned before a judge and enter a formal plea.

There were several supporters outside the courthouse doors as Smollett arrived for the hearing, including some who waved signs. When Watkins warned him to show up on time for each future court hearing or risk jail time, Smollett replied, "Yes, your honor".

Smollett will next be due in court on April 17.

Chicago police eventually arrested Smollett on suspicion that he had faked the incident "to promote his career", saying at a news conference last month that he paid his would-be attackers - brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo - to carry it out.

The actor is accused of falsifying a police report, and lying to police. Smollett has maintained his innocence, and one of his lawyers called the 16-count indictment "redundant and vindictive" in a statement to The Washington Post.

"There has been a lot of misinformation in this case that's been presented as fact and evidence against Mr. Smollett that is demonstrably false", his attorney Tina Glandian said after a hearing Tuesday in Chicago, as her client walked quickly past the media scrum.

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"We look forward to complete transparency and the truth coming out", Glandian said.

Police say Smollett told detectives that two masked men beat him while hurling racist and homophobic slurs, and that they poured an unknown substance on him and hung a noose around his neck before fleeing.

A Cook County grand jury indictment, made public on Friday, charged Smollett with disorderly conduct for each crime he said he had suffered, with separate counts related to statements he made the night of January 29 to a police officer, and then for repeating the same account to a detective the same night.

State's Attorney Kim Foxx has asked Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to turn the case over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Police said the two brothers wore gloves during the staged attack, and did punch Smollett, but the scratches and bruises on Smollett's face most likely were self-inflicted.

Smollett has denied all the allegations.

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