Jussie Smollett Showed Up to Court to 'Show Confidence in His Innocence' Amidst Hoax Allegations
Jussie Smollett's attorneys told the judge there had been a lot of "false information spread" in the case of their client, who is accused of staging being victimized by a hate attack
Jussie Smollett was not required to appear at a hearing in Chicago on Tuesday.
But the Empire star, who posted his $100,000 bond, made a surprise arrival along with his legal team, including attorney Mark Geragos. Smollett was seen entering the Leighton Criminal Court Building to discuss whether cameras will be allowed in the courtroom during his disorderly conduct case.
Neither the state nor Smollett’s defense team objected to one still camera and one video camera being allowed in the courtroom, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Smollett’s lawyers did not object to the presence of media in the courtroom, alleging there had been a lot of “false information spread” in their client’s case, according to NBC Chicago.
The actor, who is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday, chose to attend Tuesday’s hearing “to show confidence in his innocence,” his representative, Anne Kavanagh, told PEOPLE.
“He will do everything he needs to do. He will go the extra mile to cooperate with the process,” Kavanagh said.
Geragos did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.
Smollett’s court appearance on Tuesday comes days after he was indicted with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly making false reports.
Last Friday, in a statement released to PEOPLE, Geragos said that the “redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines” and accused law enforcement of “robbing” Smollett of his presumed innocence.
“The fact of an indictment was not unexpected. We knew that there is no way they would expose their evidence to a public airing and subject their witnesses to cross-examination,” Geragos said. “What is unexpected, however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts against Jussie.”
Smollett and his legal team previously said they are gearing up to launch an “aggressive defense,” according to his attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson.
“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,” Pugh and Henderson said in a statement given to PEOPLE on Wednesday. “Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”
Smollett, who claimed he was the subject of a racist and homophobic attack on Jan. 29 in Chicago, told investigators that he was attacked by two masked men “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs.” He alleged the men placed a noose around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him before fleeing.
Smollett, who was given the presumption of being a victim until the latter stages of the investigation, was the third person arrested in the case.
Brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo — who were seen on surveillance footage the night of the incident and later questioned by police — were arrested and questioned by police last week but were released after telling police about the alleged hoax.
Authorities allege Smollett paid the men $3,500 to stage a “bogus” hate crime attack against him to draw attention to himself because the actor was dissatisfied with his salary.
After posting bond and being released from jail last month, Smollett returned to the Chicago set of Empire, the Fox drama in which he stars as main character Jamal Lyon.
At a February court hearing, text messages between Smollett and the Osundairo brothers detailed how the 45-second attack was to be allegedly orchestrated were read in court.
If Smollett is found guilty, falsifying a police report is a Class 4 felony which carries a potential sentence of up to three years in prison.
Season 5 of Empire, in which Smollett is set to star in several episodes, premieres Wednesday.