Actor Smollett denies renewed hoax charges

A chaotic scene on Monday as former 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett arrived for his arraignment at a Chicago courthouse, where his entourage appeared to push away members of the media, some of whom then tripped and fell.

Appearing before a judge, Smollet pleaded not guilty on Monday to six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about being attacked in a hate crime he's accused of staging.

The new charges, announced this month, came at the recommendation of a special prosecutor, who was assigned to the case after a judge ruled the state's attorney's office had not properly handled it the first time around.


Smollett, who is African-American and gay, ignited a social media firestorm after he told police in January of last year that two masked men had thrown a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him and shouted racial and homophobic slurs.


Police arrested Smollett a month later, accusing the actor of making it up and paying two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack.


He was subsequently charged in a 16-count indictment, but in a surprising move, the charges against him were dropped, drawing criticism from then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city officials and leading to the appointment of the special prosecutor.


Smollett was released on a $20,000 bond.