Just when you thought the previous plot twist was the end of the Jussie Smollett saga, there’s another plot twist to the plot twist. The actor is back in court, in relation to his previous claims that he was the target of a homophobic and racist attack in January 2019.
According to Fox News, the 37-year-old actor is expected to plead not guilty as he appears in a Monday hearing related to new charges alleging he lied to police. The former Empire actor is facing six new counts of felony disorderly conduct. A special grand jury indicted Smollett on Feb. 11, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Smollett previously faced 16 charges—to which he pleaded not guilty—but Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx dismissed the case, just weeks after the indictment (Smollett was ordered to forfeit his $10,000 bond and engage in community service.). Foxx’s decision angered government officials and police, the latter of whom called for her resignation.
Special Prosecutor Dan Webb, a former U.S. attorney, was appointed to reinvestigate Smollett’s case, following Foxx’s decision to dismiss. Foxx will not be involved in this new case; Webb is expected to attend the hearing.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot commented on Monday’s arraignment, noting Smollett should be held accountable, per CBS Chicago.
“He needs to face the charges. He committed a crime, and he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and we are going to continue to aggressively make him accountable for the wasted police resources that went into investigating what turned out to be a total hoax,” Lightfoot stated.