Jussie Smollett Makes Court Appearance as Judge Allows Cameras for Next Hearing
By Antoinette Bueno
DEREK HENKLE/AFP/Getty Images
Jussie Smollett made a court appearance on Tuesday in Chicago, to attend a hearing on whether or not cameras will be allowed to be present in the courtroom during his next scheduled court appearance.
Smollett -- who was not required to attend Tuesday's hearing -- wore sunglasses and a gray coat as he arrived at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, and remained silent when asked by reporters for comment. ET has learned cameras will be allowed in the courtroom on Thursday for Smollett's upcoming hearing. The actor's legal team welcomes cameras as a counter to what they call misinformation leaked to the media.
A source tells ET that Smollett chose to come to court on Tuesday because he wants to be as transparent as possible, and that he looks forward to the evidence being presented in court.
Meanwhile, ET has learned that attorney Mark Geragos filed paperwork on Monday to officially represent Smollett in Illinois. The high profile attorney will be representing Smollett in court on Thursday.
Earlier this month, the 36-year-old Empire actor was indicted on 16 felony counts by a grand jury in Chicago. The counts focus on allegedly false statements made to two different Chicago Police officers.
"Jussie Smollett knew that at the time of this transmission there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed," the indictment states.
In a statement to ET, Geragos said: "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. What is unexpected, however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts against Jussie. This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines in order to distract from the internal investigation launched to investigate the outrageous leaking of false information by the Chicago Police Department and the shameless and illegal invasion of Jussie's privacy in tampering with his medical records. Jussie adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption."
Meanwhile, following the news of his indictment, Chief Communications Officer of the Chicago Police Department Anthony Guglielmi tweeted: " ... Allegations against Mr. Smollett are shameful & if proven, they are an affront to the people of Chicago who embraced him as a neighbor & respected him as a role model. We stand behind the work of detectives & refer any comment on indictment to prosecutors."
Smollett was arrested on Feb. 21 after being charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report in which he claimed he was the victim of a hate crime. When reporting the January attack, Smollett claimed that he was assaulted by two masked men who yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, poured what he believed was bleach over him and put a noose around his neck.
But in a press conference following Smollett's arrest, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department Eddie T. Johnson claimed that the actor staged his alleged attack to promote his career, and because he was "dissatisfied" with his Empire salary.
"As far as we can tell, the scratching and bruising that you saw on his face were most likely self-inflicted," Johnson alleged. " ... Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."
Smollett has maintained that he is a victim and has denied all the allegations that he staged the incident.