American actor, Jussie Smollett is set to make his first court appearance Monday on a new set of charges accusing him of lying to Chicago police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack last year.
He’s scheduled to be arraigned before Judge LeRoy K. Martin Jr. at the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse and could either be released on his own recognizance or held on bail.
The 37-year-old actor is expected to plead not guilty to the six counts of felony disorderly conduct during Monday’s hearing.
Last year, Smollett was slapped with 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct for making false statements to the Chicago Police Department, just weeks before the Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office announced it was dismissing the case.
At that time, Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel, expressed his anger at the decision to drop the charges was a “whitewash of justice.”
Retired appellate judge Sheila O’Brien later petitioned the court to appoint a special prosecutor to reopen the case and examine why charges against Smollett were dropped.
Special Prosecutor Dan Webb, a former U.S. attorney who was appointed to examine the state’s attorney’s office’s handling of the case, is expected to attend the hearing.
Back in January 2019, Smollett, who is black and gay, told police that two masked men attacked him as he was walking home. He said they made racist and homophobic insults, beat him and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing, and that at least one of his attackers was a white man who told him he was in “MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Weeks later, police alleged that Smollett had paid two Nigerian brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo $3,500 to stage the attack.
If convicted in the new charges, Smollett could be jailed for three years, given mandatory community service and a $25,000 fine.