Cameras allowed in courtroom for Jussie Smollett case

Jussie Smollett, center, arrives at Leighton Criminal Court Building for a hearing. (AP)
Jussie Smollett, center, arrives at Leighton Criminal Court Building for a hearing. (AP)

Chicago — A lawyer for Jussie Smollett said on Tuesday that she would welcome cameras in the courtroom during the Empire actor’s trial on charges accusing him of lying to the police, saying there has been a lot of leaked misinformation and cameras would allow the public to "see the evidence and the lack thereof".

Attorney Tina Glandian made the comments during a brief hearing on Tuesday in Cook County criminal court during which both sides agreed that cameras would be allowed at the next hearing in the case, which is scheduled for Thursday. During that hearing, the case will be assigned to a trial judge who will then likely ask Smollett to enter a plea.

During the hearing, which was held after local news organisations requested that cameras be allowed in the courtroom, Judge LeRoy Martin, Jr. said that the new judge will decide whether or not to allow cameras in the courtroom during subsequent hearings and the trial.

After the hearing, Glandian told reporters that evidence has been presented against Smollett that is "demonstrably false".

"We welcome cameras in the courtroom so that the public and the media can see the actual evidence and what we believe is the lack of evidence against Mr. Smollett and we look forward to complete transparency and the truth coming out," she said.

Smollett was charged last month with one count of misconduct — the felony in Illinois that people are charged with when accused of lying to police — because he allegedly lied to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two masked men in downtown Chicago on 29 January. Last week, a grand jury indicted him on 16 counts of the same crime.


Jussie Smollett charged with 16 felony counts for alleged staged attack

Chicago - A grand jury in Chicago indicted Empire actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs. The Cook County grand jury indictment dated Thursday and made public on Friday gives details of the disorderly conduct charge against Smollett.

Prosecutors allege that Smollett enlisted the help of two men and staged the attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career. Those men have admitted to police that they took part in the staged attack for Smollett, who paid them $3 500.

Smollett’s attorneys have called 16 counts "prosecutorial overkill". The actor, who is free on bond, maintains his innocence.