Lauryn Overhultz | Columnist
Disgraced “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett was back in court Thursday morning and pleaded “not guilty” to 16 counts of disorderly conduct after conducting a hate crime hoax against himself.
Smollett is required to be at every court date, and his next appearance is scheduled for mid-April, according to TMZ. Smollett is allowed to leave Chicago to go to Los Angeles and New York City for meetings with lawyers. He is expected to notify the court before leaving Chicago and upon returning.
Jussie Smollett is back in court. He is expected to enter his plea and a judge will be assigned to the case.
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) March 14, 2019
Smollett was charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct on Mar. 7 after he allegedly lied to the police about being attacked by Trump supporters. The grand jury returned two sets of charges for the two separate interviews Smollett had with Chicago police. Each false statement received its own individual charge. (RELATED: Jussie Smollett Indicted On 16 Felony Charges)
Smollett’s lawyer called the charges “overkill,” according to TMZ.
Smollett pleaded “not guilty” to the first disorderly conduct charge back in February and was released from jail on $100,000 bond.
But Smollett’s personal fate isn’t the only thing up in the air right now. Production sources from “Empire” told TMZ that Fox has not renewed “Empire” for another season, which is largely due to Smollett’s case.
Smollett’s character has already been removed from the last two episodes of season five. His character is going to be out of the country.