Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to disorderly conduct charges

CHICAGO -- "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of disorderly conduct Thursday morning.

Cameras were rolling as Lawyer Tina Glandian entered the plea on behalf of the 36-year-old actor during a hearing in Cook County Circuit Court at 26th and California.

Judge Steven Watkins was assigned to oversee the case, including the trial.

Watkins granted Smollett's request to be allowed to meet with lawyers in New York and California, but said the actor must give the court at least 48 hours' prior notice. He scheduled the next hearing for April 17.

Smollett is charged with lying to Chicago police about the January attack in the city's Streeterville neighborhood.

Prosecutors allege that Smollett, who is black and gay, staged the attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career.

A grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false report.

SmollettĀ has deniedĀ that he staged the attack and maintains he is innocent.

An attorney for the Osundairo brothers, Abimbola "Abel" and Olabinjo "Ola", has said a $3500 check the actor gave the brothers was for both personal training and to stage an attack.

The brothers are not facing charges.

State's Attorney Kim Foxx has asked Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to turn the case over to the FBI.

A spokesperson for Foxx says the request was made over concerns about leaks to the media.

Foxx has recused herself from the case.

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