Jussie Smollett has pleaded not guilty to 16 counts after filing a false police report about being attacked earlier last month.
He was accompanied by some, but not all of his family and said nothing as he strode quickly into the courthouse wearing a pair of sunglasses.
Yesterday, Smollet spoke during his court hearing proceedings only to say:
He was searched by security before entering the courtroom. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 48 years behind bars.
Smollett, who insists he is innocent, is accused of paying brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to attack him on January 29.
They told police the actor wanted a raise on Empire, the Fox show in which he is one of the central characters.
After pleading not guilty on all counts, Smollett left the court with his family without making a statement.
He was heckled on his way out of the courthouse as he got into a waiting car by someone shouting:
‘You f***d up! Lock him up!’
On Thursday, Tina Glandian, one of his attorneys, said the case is open to the public and media.
We welcome cameras in the courtroom so the public and the media can see the evidence and we believe is a lack of evidence against Mr. Smollett and we look forward to complete transparency and the truth coming out.
Members of Smollett’s team told the media at the courthouse that his Empire co-star Terrence Howard had planned to attend the arraignment but that his flight was delayed arriving in Chicago.
Empire star defends actor after fake assault claim
Smollett’s court appearance coincided with the revelation that his family contacted former Michelle Obama to get in touch with State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx the day after the attack to tell her they had ‘concerns’ with how the police were handling it.
They were worried about the amount of information that was being leaked to the media from the start of the investigation.
Foxx said she was ‘trying’ and had spoken to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnston to try to ‘convince’ him to let the FBI take the lead on the investigation.
Empire actor faked attack to grow career – police
Ultimately, the case did not move on to the FBI because there was not enough evidence that Smollett had been the victim of a hate crime as he claimed.
The 36-year-old actor will return to court in April and will be allowed to travel between New York City and Los Angeles to meet with lawyers.