Empire's Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty to Lying to Police About Alleged Attack

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The ongoing Jussie Smollett drama kicked into high gear on Thursday as the embattled Empire actor entered a not guilty plea for staging a fake hate crime. 

Per Deadline, one of Smollett's lawyers, Tina Glandian, entered the not guilty plea on the actor's behalf

Jussie Smollett Attends Fox Upfronts

But unlike the court appearance from earlier this week, Smollett had to attend because he was arraigned. 

Smollett's legal team has been doing the rounds this week, saying that they wanted the cameras in the courtroom to allow the public to see the evidence. 

Related: Empire: Fox Breaks Silence on Jussie Smollett Arrest

Given the severity of the allegations, it's unclear if it will be honored, but there's a lot many don't know about this case, and it's possible that many will never know the full extent of what really happened. 

Jussie's legal team were quick to point out that the Chicago grand jury indicting the actor on 16 felony counts was overkill. 

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"What is unexpected, however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts against Jussie," Geragos said in a statement last week when the news broke. 

"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."

The actor is next scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, April 17, but this case has been filled with twists and turns over the last several weeks, so it's possible that more bombshell developments will come to light in the coming weeks. 

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Smollett allegedly told police that he was approached by two men who hurled racist and homophobic abuse at him. 

He said the men attacked him, placed a noose around his neck and that they poured a chemical substance on him before feeling the scene, all the while yelling pro- Make America Great Again comments. 

Related: Jussie Smollett Arrested for Filing False Police Report

Two suspects emerged in the weeks after, and many were shocked to learn that Smollett had met them prior to the alleged attack. 

Jussie Smollett Mugshot

The brothers were released, and Smollett was charged in February for filing a false police report. He was subsequently arrested, and the Chicago Police claimed that the actor orchestrated the whole thing to secure a higher salary for his role on Empire. 

What are your thoughts on these latest developments?

Hit the comments below. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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