(CHICAGO) — Actor Jussie Smollett returned to court in Chicago Tuesday morning, days after he was charged with 16 felony counts related to that alleged hate crime hoax.
This court hearing comes a few days ahead of the Empire actor’s Thursday court date, when he is expected to enter a formal plea on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report.
Smollett had claimed he was the victim of a brutal hate crime at the hands of supporters of President Trump in Chicago early in the morning of January 29. But after a thorough investigation, police declared it a hoax, and that Smollett hired two brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, to carry out the fake attack.
On Monday’s Good Morning America, Osundairo brothers’ attorney Gloria Schmidt said the brothers felt betrayed by Smollett.
“They worked with Jussie, they had known him, they were friends with him,” Schmidt said. “This was someone who the brothers thought could help their career.”
Schmidt said that the brothers have evidence to back up their claims. “That’s why when they went from ‘persons of interest’ to suspects. They are free men and they are at home,” she said.
As previously reported, after Smollett reported the alleged attack, police identified and questioned two “persons of interest” captured on surveillance video near the scene around the time of the incident. The brothers were arrested on Feb. 13 but then released without charges, with police saying they were no longer considered suspects.
After Smollett’s arraignment, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson told reporters that the “phony attack” was “orchestrated” by the actor “to boost his profile” amid “a salary dispute.”
Smollett, who still maintains his innocence, is due back in court this Thursday, March 14th at 9am.
Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.