Carrying a navy go well with and costume coat, Smollett, 36, appeared severe and quiet standing subsequent to his attorneys as Prepare dinner County Circuit Courtroom Decide Steven Watkins was assigned to his case.
“Sure, sir,” Smollett stated in a mushy voice because the decide instructed him that he would subsequent return to court docket on April 12. A few of his family sat within the court docket’s overflow gallery close to a handful of followers, some carrying “Empire” shirts.
In an indictment returned by a grand jury final Thursday, Smollett, who’s black, brazenly homosexual and performs a homosexual musician on Fox’s hip-hop drama, was charged with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct alleging he gave false accounts of an assault on him to police investigators.
Every rely carries a most penalty of three years in jail and a $25,000 fantastic.
Smollett and his attorneys declined to remark as they left the courthouse.
Smollett was beforehand charged final month with felony disorderly conduct for making a false report after he informed police he was attacked in January by masked supporters of President Donald Trump who beat him, slung a noose spherical his neck and poured a liquid chemical on him whereas shouting racist and homophobic slurs.
Detectives investigated the incident as a hate crime however native information shops cited police sources saying it was believed to be a hoax.
Fox reduce Smollett’s character in “Empire” after he was arrested.
Based on prosecutors, Smollett wrote a $3,500 verify to 2 brothers and gave them $100 to purchase the rope, ski masks, gloves and crimson baseball caps used within the supposed Jan. 29 assault.
Police stated Smollett hoped the incident would advance his profession and safe him a better wage.
Police initially arrested the brothers on Feb. 13, after they have been acknowledged from surveillance footage from close to the scene of the alleged assault. One had appeared with Smollett on “Empire,” police and their lawyer stated. Prosecutors stated one had equipped Smollett with “designer medication” up to now.
The brothers confessed to the plot, police stated. They grew to become cooperating witnesses and have been launched with out fees.
After the alleged assault, Smollett obtained assist on social media, together with from celebrities and Democratic presidential candidates. Others have been skeptical of the incident, which Smollett stated occurred at round 2 a.m. on a metropolis avenue throughout one of many coldest weeks in current historical past.
Outdoors the courthouse on Thursday, a couple of dozen supporters gathered with indicators, chanting that his prosecution was unjust.
In a “Good Morning America” interview final month, Smollett stated he was indignant some folks questioned his story and prompt racial bias could also be behind the disbelief.
Decide Watkins authorized a request from Smollett’s attorneys that the actor be allowed to journey freely to New York and California to seek the advice of along with his bicoastal authorized groups.