One of Smollett's lawyers, Tina Glandian, entered the plea on Smollett's behalf.
Prior to the arraignment, Judge Steven G. Watkins was assigned to oversee Smollett's case. Watkins made a small change to the terms of Smollett’s bond, saying he will allow Smollett to travel Los Angeles and New York to meet with attorneys without first formally seeking court approval.
Smollett's next court date was set for April 17.
Smollett huddled with his attorneys at the courthouse for more than 30 minutes after the hearing. He and his legal team left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.
Prosecutors, led by Assistant State's Attorney Risa Lanier, also did not comment.
A lawyer for Jussie Smollett said Tuesday that she would welcome cameras in the courtroom during the "Empire" actor's trial on charges accusing him of lying to police. (March 12)
“Empire” star Terrence Howard, who has publicly expressed support for Smollett, planned to attend Thursday’s hearing. He ended up missing it, because he got stuck at the airport while waiting to pick up his wife, whose fight was delayed, according to Smollett spokeswoman Anne Kavanagh.
The actor's legal team said Tuesday that they wanted cameras in the courtroom so the public could see the evidence. Celebrity defense attorney Mark Geragos, who joined Smollett's Chicago-based legal team in late February, argued that the worldwide media coverage has robbed Smollett of the presumption of innocence. He said he was not surprised by the indictment.
"What is unexpected, however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts against Jussie," Geragos said in a statement last week. "This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines in order to distract from the internal investigation launched to investigate the outrageous leaking of false information by the Chicago Police Department and the shameless and illegal invasion of Jussie's privacy in tampering with his medical records."
More: 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett wants cameras in court so public can see evidence
Smollett, 36, told Chicago police that he was attacked in the middle of the night on Jan. 29, claiming that two masked men shouted homophobic and racist abuse at him, beat his face, threw bleach on him, hung a noose around his neck and yelled, "This is MAGA country," a reference to President Trump's campaign slogan.>
"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, center, arrives at Chicago's Leighton Criminal Court Building for his arraignment hearing on Thursday, March 14, 2019. (Photo: Matt Marton, AP)
Local shock, a nationwide outcry, and an urgent Chicago police investigation ensued.
While messages of support for Smollett from his famous friends, from presidential candidates and total strangers poured in over social media, police busied themselves watching hours of surveillance video and searching for two murky figures Smollett said were the attackers.
They argued with Smollett about access to his cellphone, they served search warrants, and they eventually arrested two brothers they suspected were the two men on the surveillance video.
For nearly 48 hours – the limit police could hold them – the bodybuilder brothers Ola Osundairo, 27, and Abel Osundairo, 25, were interrogated until, police said, they explained: Smollett, whom they knew through "Empire" and working out together, had paid them to help him stage a hoax attack.
On Feb. 20, after a flurry of conflicting leaks from the Chicago Police Department about the status of the investigation (Smollett is a victim, he's not a victim, it is a hoax, it is not a hoax), Smollett was charged by police with one Class 4 felony count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report about the alleged attack.
He turned himself in early the next day, was arrested and briefly jailed, before being released on $100,000 bond.
Jussie Smollett investigation timeline: How actor went from assault victim to suspect
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett paid the Osundairo brothers $3,500 to stage an attack on him in order to raise his profile and his TV salary.
Johnson angrily assailed Smollett, saying he smeared Chicago. He told reporters that the actor staged the attack to look like a hate crime in order to "take advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInJussie Smollett: The 'Empire' star's career in photos> Fullscreen
A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.
Following a saga that saw "Empire" star Jussie Smollett go from sympathetic hate-crime victim to indicted suspect accused of orchestrating his own assault, all 16 of the actor's charges were dropped March 26. Here, he smiles and waves to supporters before leaving Cook County Court after the charges were dropped. Paul Beaty, AP>Fullscreen Smollett's "Empire" co-star Taraji P. Henson told USA TODAY later Tuesday that she was "happy that the truth has finally been set free, because I knew it all along. We're all happy for him, and thank God the truth prevailed." Paul Beaty, AP>Fullscreen Meanwhile, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, left, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel held a press conference to blast the decision to drop Smollett's charges and announced they stood by the investigation that concluded the actor staged a hoax. Mitch Armentrout, AP>Fullscreen Actor Jussie Smollett takes a selfie with a fan outside the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, after prosecutors dropped all charges against him. Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs. Ashlee Rezin, Chicago Sun-Times via AP>Fullscreen Actor Jussie Smollett speaks with members of the media after his court appearance at Leighton Courthouse on March 26, 2019 in Chicago, Ill. This morning in court it was announced that all charges were dropped against the actor. Nuccio DiNuzzo, Getty Images>Fullscreen Actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, after prosecutors dropped all charges against him. Paul Beaty, AP>Fullscreen On March 14, "Empire" star Jussie Smollett returned to court to plead not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct and lying to the police about his alleged attack on Jan. 29. The new charges were filed on March 8. Matt Marton, AP>Fullscreen On Feb. 22, Fox announced it was suspending Smollett, one day after the actor was charged with filing a false police report about his alleged Jan. 29 assault. Fox said his character, Jamal Lyon, would be cut out of the final two episodes of Season 5. Chuck Hodes/Fox>Fullscreen "The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us," said a statement from 20th Century Fox Television attributed to the show's executive producers. "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,” they said, referring to his character, Jamal Lyon, the scion of a recording-industry family. Matt Dinerstein/20th Century Fox>Fullscreen Smollett is seen in his Feb. 21 booking photo after turning himself into authorities. The evening before, a grand jury indicted him on a felony count of filing a false police report. Chicago Police Dept. via AP>Fullscreen Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. addresses Smollett in a courtroom sketch from his bond hearing on Feb. 21. Lyke said he was taken aback by the accusations
even as he told the actor he has the presumption of innocence. “The most vile and despicable part of it, if it’s true, is the noose," said Lyke, who, like Smollett, is black. "That symbol conjures up such evil in this country’s history." Tom Gianni/AP>Fullscreen Assistant State's Attorney Risa Lanier briefs reporters after Smollett's bond hearing. Prosecutors say he paid two brothers to stage the assault and stage-managed the whole thing, choosing the location and telling them to put a rope around his neck, pour bleach on him and yell, "This is MAGA country!" Teresa Crawford/AP>Fullscreen Jussie Smollett leaves Cook County jail after posting bail on Feb. 21. The judge set his bond at $100,000, required the actor to surrender his passport and forbade him from having any contact with the brothers.
Nuccio DiNuzzo, Getty Images>Fullscreen Smollett was reportedly expected back on the set of "Empire" hours after leaving the Cook County jail. Nuccio DiNuzzo, Getty Images>Fullscreen In a press conference following his arrest, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said, "First Smollett attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial homophobic and political language. When that didn’t work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack. The stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary so he concocted a story about being attacked." Scott Olson, Getty Images>Fullscreen On Feb. 22, less than 10 days after interviewing Smollett on "Good Morning America," Robin Roberts called his arrest a "setback for race relations, homophobia, MAGA supporters – the fingers were pointed at them. I cannot think of another case where there's this anger on so many sides, and you can understand why there would be." Stephen Green/ABC>Fullscreen Smollett referenced his attack during a Feb. 2 concert in Los Angeles, less than a week later. He told the crowd, "I had to be here tonight, y'all. I couldn't let those (expletives) win." Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for ABA>Fullscreen Smollett laughs with co-star Taraji P. Henson during a scene from Season 5. The actress, who plays his mother, expressed support for him the day after the alleged assault in an Instagram post, writing, "I wish what happened to my baby was just one big bad joke but it wasn’t and we all feel his pain right now." Chuck Hodes/Fox>Fullscreen Actor-singer Jussie Smollett, from the Fox series, "Empire," March 6, 2018, in New York. Victoria Will, Victoria Will/Invision/AP>Fullscreen Jussie Smollett speaks during the "Empire" season 5 world premiere during the 2018 Tribeca TV Festival at in New York City. Dominik Bindl, Getty Images for Tribeca TV>Fullscreen Jussie Smollett and Serayah McNeill perform onstage during amfAR Dance2Cure Dec. 1, 2018 in Hollywood. Emma McIntyre, Getty Images>Fullscreen David Christopher, Deborah Cox, and Jussie Smollett attend the Trevor Project's TrevorLIVE LA 2018, Dec. 3, 2018 in Beverly Hills. Tasia Wells, (Credit too long, see caption)>Fullscreen Jussie Smollett, Billy Porter, and Deborah Cox attend the Trevor Project's TrevorLIVE LA 2018 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel, Dec. 3, 2018 in Beverly Hills. Tasia Wells, (Credit too long, see caption)>Fullscreen Actor Jussie Smollett, a 2019 inductee of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, left, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson and Danny Glover who was also a 2019 inductee pose for photos during the ceremony at The Miami Beach Convention Center on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, in Miami Beach, Fla. (Jose A. Iglesias/Miami Herald via AP) ORG XMIT: FLMIH104 Jose A. Iglesias, AP>Fullscreen Lucious (Terrence Howard) toasts his family in the "Devil Quotes Scripture" television episode. L-R: Jussie Smollett, Serayah McNeill, Taraji P. Henson, Bryshere Gray, Grace Gealey, Terrence Howard, Trai Byers and Kaitlin Doubleday. Chuck Hodes, FOX>Fullscreen First lady Michelle Obama moves out of the way as she welcomes performer Jussie Smollett, in the State Dinning Room of the White House in Washington, Feb. 24, 2016, during an interactive student workshop on the musical legacy of Ray Charles, where students from 10 schools and community organizations from across the country participate as part of the "In Performance at the White House" series. Andrew Harnik, AP>Fullscreen Jussie Smollett speaks during the "Empire" season 5 world premiere during the 2018 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City, Sept. 22, 2018 Dominik Bindl, Getty Images for Tribeca TV>Fullscreen "I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level," Jussie Smollett said Friday in his first statement since the attack. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP>Fullscreen
Interested in this topic? You may also want to view these photo galleries:
ReplayAutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide
“I am left hanging my head asking ‘why?’ Why would anyone – especially an African-American man – use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations,” Johnson told reporters. “Bogus police reports cause real harm. They do harm to every legitimate victim who is in need of support by police and investigators as well as the citizens of this city. … I’m offended by what happened and I am also angry.”
On March 8, a county grand jury deepened his legal woes by indicting him on 16 counts of disorderly conduct stemming from the alleged false police report. According to the indictment, the grand jury charged Smollett for every time he allegedly uttered a falsehood to police investigators about what he said happened to him on Jan. 29.
Each count carries a potential sentence of one to three years in prison.
The Chicago-bred Osundairo brothers, who were released without charges and who have said through their lawyer, Gloria Schmidt, that they regret their role in the case, will likely be among the chief witnesses against Smollett if he goes to trial.
But in media interviews Monday, Schmidt declined to explain why Smollett allegedly asked the Osundairos to stage the attack or why they chose to remain in police detention for nearly 48 hours before telling investigators their story.
But she did confirm several other details: the brothers were friends and workout buddies with Smollett, he paid them for personal training services, they have – and are still – "fully" cooperating with police and did not seek a plea deal for their testimony.
Schmidt painted the brothers as hapless innocents who were duped by Smollett.
"This entire thing started because they put their trust in the wrong person, someone who works with them, someone who could help their careers, and then he betrays them," she told "CBS This Morning." "They felt their friend would not put them in a situation where they are now labeled as someone who would commit a hate crime. They did not know that their loyalty to him would be betrayed."
She said the Osundairo brothers have a $3,500 check Smollett gave them. Though it was officially earmarked as payment for personal training services, it was also tacitly intended as an enticement to do him the "favor" of staging the attack. FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn
Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman and more celebrities in legal trouble> Fullscreen
A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.
Lori Loughlin (left) and Felicity Huffman (right) were among the 50 people charged March 12 in what federal officials say is the nation's largest-ever college admissions bribery case prosecuted by the Justice Department. We're looking back at more celebrities who've been in hot water recently. Frazer Harrison, Getty Images>Fullscreen "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett filed a police report on Jan. 29, alleging he was physically attacked by two men who also used homophobic and racial slurs. After speculation arose that Smollett had hired the men to stage an attack, the actor was indicted in March by a grand jury on 16 felony accounts accusing him of lying to the police. Matt Marton, AP>Fullscreen R&B star R. Kelly was arrested in February and charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, with multiple alleged acts dating back to 1998. Court documents showed three of the victims were between the ages of 13 and 17.
"Thirty years of my career and you try to kill me?" he said on "CBS This Morning" in his first televised interview since the arrest. "This isn't about music; I'm trying to have a relationship with my kids and I can't do it." JAKE BARLOW, EPA-EFE>Fullscreen Rapper Bow Wow was arrested in February after a fight. Leslie Holden and Bow Wow, whose real name is Shad Moss, both had "visible minor injuries" and it was unclear who the "primary aggressor " was, so they were both charged with battery, police said. Bryan Steffy, Getty Images for Showtime>Fullscreen Joey Gaydos Jr. (right), best known for his 2003 role as Zack in "School of Rock," was arrested in March for stealing guitars and music equipment in Florida. ANDREW SCHWARTZ, PARAMOUNT PICTURES>Fullscreen Rapper YNW Melly, whose real name is Jamell Demons, was charged in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, with two counts of first degree murder on Feb. 13. Police allege he shot Christopher Thomas Jr. and Anthony Williams, two other Florida-based rappers. Handout, Getty Images>Fullscreen "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Peter Thomas was arrested in March for allegedly writing fraudulent checks. His attorney, Keith Doley, claimed the situation was "an unfortunate misunderstanding" and after delivering a $4,000 check, the DA's office dropped the charges. Bennett Raglin, Getty Images for Ashley Stewart>Fullscreen While filming a new Comedy Central show at a Board of Regents meeting in the Georgia Capitol Building on Feb. 12, comedian Jordan Klepper and members of his crew were arrested for tresspassing. Kris Connor, Getty Images for Comedy Central>Fullscreen 26-year-old Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage, born in the U.K. as She'yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was taken into ICE custody over a visa that allegedly expired in 2006. Amy Harris/Invision/AP>Fullscreen
"Real Housewives of Orange County" star Gina Kirschenheiter faced an arrest warrant late in February after she failed to appear in court for a DUI arrest hearing. The warrant has since been dropped and Kirschenheiter's arraignment is scheduled for April 16. Paul Archuleta, Getty Images>Fullscreen
Interested in this topic? You may also want to view these photo galleries:
ReplayAutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide