Wearing a navy suit and dress coat, Smollett, 36, appeared serious and quiet standing next to his attorneys as Cook County Circuit Court Judge Steven Watkins was assigned to his case.
In a 16-count indictment returned by a grand jury last Thursday, Smollett, who is black, openly gay and plays a gay musician on Fox’s hip-hop drama, was charged with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct alleging he gave false accounts of an attack on him to police investigators.
Each count carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Smollett was previously charged last month with felony disorderly conduct for making a false report after he told police he was attacked in January by masked supporters of President Donald Trump who beat him, slung a noose round his neck and poured a liquid chemical on him while shouting racist and homophobic slurs.
Detectives investigated the incident as a hate crime but local news outlets cited police sources saying it was believed to be a hoax.
Fox cut Smollett’s character in “Empire” after he was arrested.
According to prosecutors, Smollett wrote a $3,500 check to two brothers and gave them $100 to buy the rope, ski masks, gloves and red baseball caps used in the supposed Police said Smollett hoped the incident would advance his career and secure him a higher salary.
(Production: Kia Johnson)