Smollett pleads not guilty to 16 felony counts
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Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges related to lying to police after the actor claimed earlier this year that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.

The "Empire" star pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, according to the Chicago Tribune. Smollett has maintained his innocence in the case.


The Tribune reported that cameras were allowed in the courtroom when a judge was randomly assigned to the case. That judge, Steven WatkinsSteven (Steve) Charles WatkinsThe Hill's Morning Report — The wall problem confronting Dems and the latest on Dorian Kansas Republican dropping Senate bid to challenge GOP rep Kansas Treasurer weighs primary bid for Kansas House seat after encouragement from former GOP governor MORE, will ultimately determine whether future proceedings can be recorded in the case.

The newspaper reported that Tina Glandian, an attorney for Smollett, supported allowing cameras in the courtroom so that the public could see the evidence in the case. 

Smollett is next due in court on April 17.

Smollett, who is black and gay, told Chicago police last month that two men beat him, tied a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him. He said one of his attackers shouted "This is MAGA country," a reference to President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan.

Smollett surrendered to authorities weeks later after he was charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report. Police said in a press conference that the "Empire" actor staged the attack because he was "dissatisfied with his salary."