The drama of Jussie Smollett continues. This week, the actor has appeared in court to answer to 16 felony charges of disorderly conduct. Speaking on his behalf, Smollett’s lawyers entered a plea of Not Guilty.
How did we get here?
At the end of January, actor Jussie Smollett claimed that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago. Smollett alleged that the attack occurred at East Lower Water Street, Chicago, at about 2 AM local time, as the actor was leaving a restaurant. Following the incident, Smollett was treated in hospital. Smollett alleged that a chemical substance had been poured on him, and that a rope had been wrapped around his neck.
Following an investigation, Chicago police arrested Smollett on suspicion that he had faked the incident to promote his career, and that he had paid two men to attack him.
What happens next?
If convicted, Smollett could be facing at least three years imprisonment.
Given that Smollett has entered a plea of Not Guilty, the case will now proceed to trial.
While a court date for the trial has not yet been confirmed, it’s expected that Smollett will be returning to court in April.
The Jussie Smollet story
- 21 June 1982
- Smollett grew up in Santa Rosa, California
- Fun fact — the letter J seems to be a big deal in the Smollett family. Jussie’s parents are Janet and Joel, and his siblings are Jake, Jocqui, Jojo, Jurnee, and Jazz.
- Smollett began his career early, landing his first commercials and film roles in 1987.
- Significant roles in those early years were The Mighty Ducks in 1992, and North in 1994.
- In 1994, Smollett starred alongside his five real-life siblings in the ABC sitcom On Our Own.
- In 2012, Smollet was cast in Patrik-Ian Polk’s film The Skinny.
- The film tells the story of five friends who are Brown University classmates as they reunite in New York City for a tumultuous Gay Pride weekend.
- Smollett plays Magnus — an affluent young medical student who is happily in a five-month relationship with his boyfriend.
- In 2014, Smollett was cast as Jamal Lyon in the drama series Empire.
- Created by Lee Daniels, Empire has been a huge success. Starring alongside Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, Smollett has been praised for his portrayal of a gay musician struggling to gain his father’s approval.
- Empire is now in its fifth season.
- Following the charges of Disorderly Conduct, Smollett has been suspended from the production.
- Smollett released his first EP in 2012, titled The Poisoned Hearts Club.
- In 2015, Smollett signed a recording contract with Columbia Records.
- Tracks written by Smollett have been featured in episodes of Empire.
- Smollett’s debut album Sum of My Music was released in 2018.