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Why Jussie Smollett Decided to Attend Today's Hearing

He wanted 'to show confidence in his innocence,' rep says
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2019 2:48 PM CDT
Empire actor Jussie Smollett, center, leaves the Leighton Criminal Court Building after a hearing on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
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(Newser) – Jussie Smollett was not required to be in court Tuesday, but the Empire actor appeared at the Chicago hearing because "he's not hiding from anything," his rep tells NBC Chicago. "He wants to hold his head up high, show confidence in his innocence." The hearing was to decide whether cameras will be allowed in court as the criminal case against Smollett, who is accused of staging a racist, homophobic attack on himself, proceeds; neither prosecutors nor Smollett's team objected, with Smollett's defense attorneys saying they are on board with allowing cameras as there has been much "misinformation" reported thus far. "We welcome cameras in the courtroom so that the public and the media can see the actual evidence—and what we believe is actually going to be a lack of evidence—against Mr. Smollett," one of his lawyers said after the hearing.

The next hearing, at which a judge will be assigned to the case, is set for Thursday, NBC News reports. One still camera and one video camera will be allowed at that hearing, the Chicago Sun-Times reports, but the assigned judge will then decide on whether to allow reporters in court for the rest of the case. Smollett, who is free on $100,000 bond, "will do everything he needs to do," his rep continued. "He will go the extra mile to cooperate with the process." On Monday, the attorney for the brothers Smollett is accused of hiring to stage the attack appeared on Good Morning America and said the $3,500 check Smollett wrote to the brothers was ostensibly for personal training but was also meant to cover a "favor" beyond that training, TMZ reports. "They were in a position with a friend who said, 'Let's basically pay you for training and then do a favor for me,'" she said, per NBC. (Read more Jussie Smollett stories.)

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