Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct on Thursday. Chicago police have accused the Empire star of staging his own racist and homophobic attack on January 29th.
The 36-year-old appeared in the Cook County, Chicago court. He is free on bail and was granted permission to travel to L.A. and NYC for work and meetings with lawyers, as long as he notifies the court. He is next set to appear in court in mid-April.
Meanwhile, Empire’s season 5 midseason premiere on Fox landed with the first new episode since the attack. His character Jamal appeared in this episode, though Smollett’s parts have been cut for the remaining episodes in the season.
According to The Wrap, ratings for the show were down 29% when compared to a comparable show last year.