*Jussie Smollett vows to “fight or die” to prove he is innocent after pleading not guilty to new charges related to the allegations he staged a hate crime on himself last year.
Smollett previously claimed to have been the victim of a racist, homophobic assault in Chicago. But cops determined he paid two Nigerian brothers to help him orchestrate the assault in an elaborate hoax because he was unhappy with his “Empire” salary and wanted sympathy to secure a fatter paycheck.
He was indicted on 16 counts for filing a false police report after alleging two masked men hurled anti-gay slurs at him, doused him with bleach and tied a noose around his neck. The charges were ultimately dropped but a special prosecutor was assigned last summer to review the case.
Earlier this month, Jussie was once again charged with lying to police in a six-count, grand jury indictment.
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He appeared in court on Monday (Feb 24) in Chicago to enter his plea, and insisted he was not guilty of the charges against him.
Jussie says the “truth” will set him free.
In a clip obtained by DailyMail.com of him arriving to court, Smollett said: “The truth is the best defense. The truth which they know nothing about.”
The actor also noted that the case is “frustrating.”
“It is definitely frustrating but you just gotta, its fight or die at this point, right. I don’t claim to be innocent, I am innocent,” he added.
After pleading not guilty on Momday, Smollett was released on a $20,000 bond.
He will reportedly appear in court again at a later date.
Meanwhile, after the initial charges against him were dropped, Chicago P.D. sued Jussie for around $500,000 to cover the overtime pay for police who investigated his alleged bogus attack.
Smollett responded by filing his own lawsuit against the city “for their conduct underlying the arrest and their conduct thereafter.”