Jussie Smollett is not going down without a fight.
The “Empire” actor has pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct, according to Chicago Sun-Times reporter Andy Grimm. The charges stem from Smollett’s alleged faking of a racially motivated attack on him.
Smollett’s lawyer, Tina Glandian, entered the plea Thursday on Smollett’s behalf. Judge Steven Watkins was assigned to oversee the case and the trial. The next court date is scheduled for April 17.
The 36-year-old actor arrived at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago flanked by a large entourage. A half-dozen Smollett supporters could be seen with “We support Jussie” signs. He wore a navy suit and dress coat.
Judge Watkins insisted Smollett must be present and on time for every court date. His lawyer requested permission for Smollett to travel to New York and California. The judge agreed under the condition Smollett give 48 hours’ notice to pre-trial services.
Smollett allegedly paid two brothers $3,500 to carry out the supposed hoax attack, prosecutors said per the Independent. He also allegedly gave them $100 to buy the rope, ski masks, and other equipment for the Jan. 29 attack.