Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty in a Chicago court on Monday to renewed felony charges that he made false reports to police about being attacked in a hate crime that he is accused of staging in a bid to advance his career.
The appointment “was flawed and contrary to the statute,” Smollett’s attorney, Tina Glandian, told a news conference after the hearing at the Cook County court.
“It’s very frustrating,” she added.
“We are optimistic that the higher court will reverse.”
Glandian also submitted a motion to the circuit court to dismiss the case based on a double-jeopardy challenge, claiming that Smollett had already been punished in the original case by forfeiting his original $10,000 bond.
“He’s obviously frustrated, being dragged through this process again,” she said.
Smollett was charged in March 2019 in a 16-count indictment, but the Cook County state’s attorney’s office dropped the charges three weeks later in exchange for forfeiting his bail without admitting wrongdoing.
The dismissal drew an outcry from then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s police superintendent, who branded the reversal a miscarriage of justice, leading a Cook County judge to appoint former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb to review the case.
Webb said he determined that further prosecution of Smollett was warranted, calling into question prosecutors’ judgment in dropping the original case.
Smollett lost his role as a singer-songwriter in “Empire,” a Fox television hip-hop drama, after accusations arose against him.