Former Empire star Jussie Smollett is demanding the dismissal of felony charges accusing him of staging a hate crime.
The actor/singer stands accused of making a series of false reports to the Chicago Police Department in Illinois last January (19), when he claimed to have been the victim of a vicious hate crime attack in the city.
However, officials insist he staged the incident against himself to gain publicity, paying brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to pull off the beating.
Smollett was initially hit with multiple disorderly conduct charges, but they were abruptly dropped by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in March, 2019, with little explanation.
Authorities subsequently appointed special prosecutor Dan Webb to re-investigate the case, and six new felony counts were filed earlier this month (Feb20).
Smollett, who lost his job on hip-hop drama series Empire as a result of the scandal, returned to court for his arraignment on Monday (24Feb20), when he pleaded not guilty to the disorderly conduct allegations. His attorneys, who have maintained their client’s innocence, also filed a motion calling for the case to be dismissed.
He is due back in court on 18 March (20).
If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison, mandatory community service, and a $25,000 (£19,300) fine.