Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to 6 new charges of disorderly conduct

A special prosecutor was appointed to continue looking into the case.

Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has pleaded not guilty to six new charges of felony disorderly conduct after he was indicted by a grand jury in Chicago earlier this month.

The charges were filed on Feb. 11 after a special prosecutor re-investigated allegations that he falsely reported being the victim of a hate-crime attack in January 2019. Smollett previously pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of the charge.

Smollett, 37, made his plea at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse on Monday morning during a preliminary hearing and arraignment. He was released on his own recognizance. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for March 18.

The Osundairo brothers, the pair who cooperated with police and admitted to helping the actor stage the alleged attack, were also in the courtroom on Monday.

Smollett told police that on Jan. 29, 2019, he was attacked by two men while walking on a street near his Chicago apartment and that the men shouted racist and homophobic slurs before assaulting him and pouring a chemical substance on him.

A Cook County judge appointed special prosecutor Dan Webb to continue looking into the case after all 16 charges against Smollett were dropped by the Cook County State’s Attorney Office.

After the new charges were announced, Webb accused Smollett of making four separate false reports to Chicago police despite “knowing he was not the victim of a crime.”

The investigation, which began on Aug. 23, revealed that Smollett “planned and participated in a staged hate-crime attack,” Webb said.

The special prosecutor weighed the “extensive nature of Mr. Smollett’s false police reports” and the resources expended by the Chicago Police Department to investigate his claims when deciding whether to pursue charges, he said. In addition the office of the Cook County State’s Attorney was unable to provide evidence of similar cases to show that Smollett did not receive special treatment, which added another “major factor” in deciding to prosecute him, Webb said.

Smollett’s attorney Tina Glandian questioned the “integrity of the investigation,” noting that the same Chicago police detectives who conducted the previous investigation were involved in the probe that prompted the new charges.

Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx, who has faced criticism for her office’s decision to drop the charges, is up for reelection on March 17.

After the hearing, Glandian said they will be filing motions to have the case dismissed on grounds of double jeopardy and whether a special prosecutor should have ever been appointed in the first place. She said earlier this month that the charges were “appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by evidence.”

ABC News’ Bill Hutchinson contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.