Jussie Smollett Update: Judge Allows Cameras in Courtroom for Thursday Hearing - NBC Chicago

Jussie Smollett Update: Judge Allows Cameras in Courtroom for Thursday Hearing

Smollett arrived in court just after 11 a.m. Tuesday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Judge Allows Cameras in Smollett Courtroom Thursday

    A judge ruled Tuesday that cameras will be allowed inside the courtroom during a Thursday hearing for "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett. NBC 5’s Ash-har Quraishi reports.

    (Published Tuesday, March 12, 2019)

    A judge ruled Tuesday that cameras will be allowed inside the courtroom during a Thursday hearing for "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett. 

    Smollett arrived in court just after 11 a.m. Tuesday. A spokeswoman for his attorneys said Smollett wanted to "show up and show respect to the court," though his appearance wasn't required.

    "He wants to hold his head up high, show confidence in his innocence," Anne Kavanagh said, adding that he plans to "go the extra mile" to prove his innocence. 

    "He's not hiding from anything," she said. "He will do everything he needs to do." 

    Jussie Smollett Arrives in Court for Hearing

    [CHI] Jussie Smollett Arrives in Court for Hearing

    "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett walks into court Tuesday for a hearing over whether cameras will be allowed inside the courtroom during the legal proceedings surrounding the criminal case against him. 

    (Published Tuesday, March 12, 2019)

    Smollett's defense attorneys did not argue with the decision to allow cameras in court Thursday, saying there has been a lot of "misinformation" in the case and they welcome cameras during the hearing and all future proceedings. Prosecutors also did not object to the decision. 

    "We welcome cameras in the courtroom so that the public and the media can see the actual evidence and what we believe is actually going to be a lack of evidence against Mr. Smollett," Tina Glandian said after the hearing. 

    Glandian and another attorney for Smollet, Mark Geragos, filed motions Monday requesting to be allowed to represent Smollett in Cook County court, as neither are members of the Illinois State Bar Association.

    A Cook County grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 felony counts Friday in connection with his reporting of the alleged attack he claimed to have suffered in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood on Jan. 29. Police alleged Smollett staged the attack, hiring two brothers who worked on "Empire" to execute it, because he was unhappy with his salary.

    The lawyer for the brothers, Obabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, said Monday that the pair has evidence backing their claim that he orchestrated the assault.

    Attorney Gloria Schmidt told Good Morning America that the brothers have "tremendous regret...over their involvement in the situation."

    Attorney for Brothers in Smollett Case Says They Have Proof

    Attorney for Brothers in Smollett Case Says They Have Proof

    The attorney for two brothers involved in the Jussie Smollett case in Chicago says the pair have evidence backing their claims against the 'Empire' actor. NBC 5’s Ash-har Quraishi has the latest on the on-going saga.

    (Published Monday, March 11, 2019)

    "I think once Mark Geragos and everyone starts looking into this situation, they're going to see really that my clients were just taken advantage of by someone that they trusted," she said.

    When asked if the brothers had evidence to back their explosive claims that changed the trajectory of the case, Schmidt said "of course."

    "And that's why when they went from persons of interest to suspects, they are free men and they are at home," she said.

    In a later interview with Access Hollywood, Schmidt said her clients cooperated with Chicago police immediately and presented evidence that was investigated. That same day, the duo walked out of the police department. Schmidt said the brothers thought they were helping a friend who would in turn help their careers.

    "The issue here is that they were in a position with a friend who said, 'Let's basically pay you for training and then do a favor for me,'" she said.

    Smollett was indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct in filing a false report on Friday, court documents show. All 16 counts are Class 4 felonies, the most serious of which carry a maximum sentence of one-to-three years in prison. Probation is also possible.

    Jussie Smollett Update: Actor Indicted on 16 Felony Counts

    [CHI] Jussie Smollett Update: Actor Indicted on 16 Felony Counts
    A Cook County grand jury indicted "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts Friday in connection with his reporting of an alleged attack he claimed to have suffered in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood in late January. Ash-har Quraishi reports.
    (Published Friday, March 8, 2019)

    The indictment issued by the grand jury lays out two separate sets of charges against the actor. The first set alleges that Smollett lied to responding officers immediately following the reported attack.

    Specifically, the charges allege that Smollett made false statements about the nature of the attack, telling officers that the attackers hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him, beat him, put a noose around his neck, and poured bleach on him, according to the indictment.

    The second set of charges alleges that Smollett made false statements to detectives in a follow-up interview about the case.

    "Allegations against Mr. Smollett are shameful and if proven, they are an affront to the people of Chicago who embraced him as a neighbor and respected him as a role model," Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement. "We stand behind the work of our detectives."

    Smollett's attorneys said they will "push back against" the charges filed against their client, with Geragos later releasing a statement saying the indictment was "not unexpected."

    "What is unexpected however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts against Jussie," Geragos said. "This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines in order to distract from the internal investigation launched to investigate the outrageous leaking of false information by the Chicago Police Department and the shameless and illegal invasion of Jussie's privacy in tampering with his medical records."

    Smollett Investigation Takes New Turns

    [CHI] Smollett Investigation Takes New Turns

    NBC 5 Investigates reveals surprising new information about the Jussie Smollett case, and Ash-har Quraishi has the details. 

    (Published Friday, March 1, 2019)

    "Jussie adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption," he said.

    Smollett was previously charged in February with one felony count of disorderly conduct in filing a false police report.

    Chicago police said in a press conference announcing the initial charge that Smollett sent a "false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language" to himself and staged a hate crime attack in Chicago because he was "dissatisfied with his salary."

    At the time, authorities investigating the reported attack as a hate crime said new information "shifted" their investigation of the alleged assault, in which Smollett told authorities he was physically attacked as he was returning home from an early morning stop at a Subway restaurant in late January.

    "Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked," Smollett's legal team said in a statement when he was initially charged. "Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense."

    Smollett is due back in court on March 14.

    CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson Talks Crime, Jussie Smollett

    [CHI] CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson Talks Crime, Jussie Smollett

    Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson talks to NBC 5's Alex Maragos about crime rates in the city, the Jussie Smollett case and more. 

    (Published Friday, March 1, 2019)

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