Police initially investigated the case as a possible hate crime. Smollett has maintained his innocence, and one of his lawyers called the 16-count indictment "redundant and vindictive" in a statement to The Washington Post.
Police said the two brothers wore gloves during the staged attack, and did punch Smollett, but the scratches and bruises on Smollett's face most likely were self-inflicted. When Watkins warned him to show up on time for each future court hearing or risk jail time, Smollett replied, "Yes, your honor".
Smollett will be allowed to travel to NY and California to meet with his lawyers as long as he notifies the court 48 hours ahead of time.
Smollett reportedly told police that two men approached him and began hurling racist and homophobic slurs at him.
". Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career".
Smollett's legal team does not yet appear to have issued new comments following the arraignment, but in a previous statement they reaffirmed his claims of innocence and chided the legal system for what they perceive as a target attack.
- Police say local media reports that the attack against Smollett was a hoax are unconfirmed. "Jussie has been a person of high calibre and character".
The "Empire" actor is accused of staging a fake attack on himself because he was allegedly dissatisfied with his pay. They became cooperating witnesses and were released without charges. Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said police have the check.
"There has been a lot of misinformation in this case that has been presented as fact and evidence against Mr. Smollett, which is demonstrably false", said Tina Glandian, the attorney for the actor. The decision was made to "avoid further disruption on set", producers said. "Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense", Smollett's attorneys said in February.
The Empire actor was arraigned on a 16-count felony indictment, of which he has denied all charges.
Prosecutors claimed during a hearing that same day that Smollett had paid two brothers - Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo, who worked as a stand-in on the Fox drama, and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo, an extra - to stage the attack.