Jussie Smollett’s Trial

Patricia Jones, Co-Business Manager / Staff Writer

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Actor Jussie Smollett, best known for his role as Jamal Lyon on the show “Empire” has been indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct by a Cook County grand jury. The indictment says that Smollett told the police he was attacked around 2 a.m. by two men who used racial and homophobic slurs. After the police brought in the two brothers who were suspected of doing the crime in mid-February, police revealed that authorities suspected Jussie knew the men and allegedly had paid them $3,500 to stage the attack. Soon, the men were released without being charged. Smollett has denied any involvement in orchestrating the attack.

He was charged in February with felony disorderly conduct. The judge then granted him $100,000 bail, and he paid a $10,000 bond. The judge ordered him to give up his passport and he will remain under supervision until his case is adjudicated. Smollett was arraigned before Judge Steven Gregory Watkins, and his attorney entered the formal not guilty plea on his behalf. He also agreed to let Smollett travel to California and New York to meet with his lawyers and set his next hearing for April 17.  The attorney for the brothers allegedly involved in the incident, Gloria Schmidt, was also seated in the courtroom.

“Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense,” Smollett’s attorneys said in February. After this incident, “Empire” producers decided to remove Jussie’s character, Jamal, from the last two episodes of the season. The decision the producers mad was to “avoid further disruption on set,” producers said.    

In the end, what could be learned from this situation is to not lie about things to bring attention to yourself or to try and settle issues with a larger issue.