Jussie Smollett has pleaded not guilty on 16 counts of filing a false police report. The “Empire” costar has entered a plea of not guilty to the courts, according to The Hollywood Reporter, ahead of his next appearance in court on April 17.
His lawyer, Mark Geragos, previously insisted his client is “adamantly” maintaining his innocence ahead of the case going to trial.
“Jussie adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption,” Geragos said in a statement.
Of the 16 new counts, eight charges involve false statements given to Officer Muhammed Baig, while the other eight are for statements given to Detective Kim Murray. Smollett reportedly told police he was assaulted at 2 am by two men who shouted homophobic and racist slurs at him and put a noose around his neck. In the more detailed account, he claimed that he fought back, and that one of the attackers was white.
“Jussie Smollett knew that at the time of this transmission there was no reasonable ground for believing that such an offence had been committed,” the indictment read.