Actor Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to restored charges

CHICAGO (AP) — Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has pleaded not guilty to restored charges that accuse him of staging a racist, homophobic attack against himself last year and falsely reporting it to Chicago police.

The 37-year-old entered a Chicago courthouse Monday wearing sunglasses and sporting a beard.

His lawyer, Tina Glandian, entered the not guilty pleas on his behalf to six counts of felony disorderly conduct. She also told Judge James B. Linn that she’s asked the Illinois Supreme Court to halt the case.

He faces six counts of felony disorderly conduct. Smollett was initially charged shortly after he said he was attacked in downtown Chicago last year.

But the county prosecutor’s office dropped the charges weeks later, angering police and city officials.

A special prosecutor tasked with looking into the decision recently announced that Smollett had been indicted for a second time.

Glandian told reporters that the revived prosecution is “an ordeal” for Smollett.

Smollett has repeatedly denied police allegations that he staged the attack to get attention and further his career. His next court date is March 18.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved.