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Empire star Jussie Smollett appeared in court on Thursday, where he entered a not guilty plea in his ongoing disorderly conduct case, Deadline reports. But the tide began to turn just days later, when police announced that the trajectory of the investigation had changed, and that Smollett would be treated as a suspect. Despite a flood of personal texts and other evidence that prosecutors presented in that late February hearing, Smollett has always insisted on his innocence and that he did not stage the attack. One had appeared with Smollett on "Empire", police and their lawyer said.

"We welcome cameras in the courtroom so that the public and the media can see the actual evidence and what we believe is the lack of evidence against Mr. Smollett, and we look forward to complete transparency and the truth coming out", she said at a news conference earlier this week.

Fox cut Smollett's character in "Empire" after he was arrested.

Smollett was previously charged last month with felony disorderly conduct for making a false report after he told police he was attacked in January by masked supporters of President Donald Trump who beat him, slung a noose round his neck and poured a liquid chemical on him while shouting racist and homophobic slurs. Smollett, who is free on bond, maintains his innocence.

"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has pleaded not guilty to the charges accusing him of lying to police about being attacked in downtown Chicago a few weeks ago.

"Meanwhile, following the news of his indictment, Chief Communications Officer of the Chicago Police Department Anthony Guglielmi tweeted: ".

What's insane, though, is that Jussie's on-screen character, Jamal, was dealing with issues with the media in last night's episode.

- Police release the two men without charges after arresting them on suspicion of assaulting Smollett and holding them for almost 48 hours.

The 36-year-old actor was charged with 16 felony counts last week for allegedly masterminding a false attack to gain publicity and win a bigger paycheck. Prosecutors said one had supplied Smollett with "designer drugs" in the past. The decision was made to "avoid further disruption on set", producers said. Investigators say they have a $3,500 check that Smollett used to pay the brothers to help him.


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