Jussie Smollett and his team appeared in court on Tuesday to determine whether cameras should be allowed for his upcoming trial. The “Empire” actor’s lawyers were pushing for the trial to broadcast live.
“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,” attorney Tina Glandian told reporters.
Smollett was not required to appear in court Tuesday but one of his reps told NBC News that he wanted “to show confidence in his innocence.”
Ultimately, Judge LeRoy Martin, Jr., will decide if cameras will be allowed in the courtroom.
Smollett has maintained his innocence. He has been indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report by a grand jury.
“What is happening here is frankly a media gangbang of this guy of unprecedented proportions. And that’s the reason I got into this,” Smollett’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, told CNN on Friday. “I’ve never seen a media pendulum swing more quickly and viciously and rob somebody of their presumption of innocence like this case. It’s startling the way people assume that he’s guilty.”
Geragos called out the Chicago Police Department, too.
“He hasn’t been given one stitch of discovery. There isn’t one police report,” Geragos said. “Your package just said he paid $3,500. I’ve got the texts. Those texts––and they conceded that the check and the texts were for training. It wasn’t to pay anything. So I don’t understand how it comes from.”
Geragos also challenged the idea that Smollett may have staged an attack because he wanted a higher salary for his “Empire” role.
“They have not talked to one person at Fox who has said he was dissatisfied with his money. They have not interviewed one person connected with the show ‘Empire; who says he was dissatisfied with his money,” Geragos said. “They are the ones that started their internal investigation about the leaks because all of the information that was being leaked was false.”
Additionally, Geragos accused the Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson of tainting the jury pool.
Watch the lawyer below:
On Jan. 29, while walking to a subway, Smollett claimed two men yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, investigators told The Hollywood Reporter. They allegedly punched and poured bleach on him while one of the suspects put a rope around his neck. As they fled the scene, Smollett told police they said, “This is MAGA country.”
The Chicago Police Department claimed the Nigerian-American brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo told them the attack was orchestrated by the “Empire” actor and that they were paid $3,500. However, TMZ reported the FBI said the Chicago Police were “overstating” and “went too far” when they said Jussie sent a hateful Jan. 22 letter to himself.