Jussie Smollett says he is willing to ‘fight or die’ to be cleared after pleading not guilty to renewed charges of ‘lying to police’ over his alleged hoax race attack.
In an exclusive video obtained by DailyMail.com the former Empire actor acknowledged the case is ‘frustrating’ but argued ‘the truth is the best defense’.
Smollett, 37, and his lawyer Tina Glandian were seen arriving into Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon. He said: ‘The truth is the best defense. The truth which they know nothing about.’
The actor returned to a Chicago courtroom on Monday to plead not guilty to felony charges that he lied to police over a ‘hoax’ attack he was accused of making up last January.
Probed on the charges on Tuesday Smollett added: ‘It is definitely frustrating but you just gotta, it’s fight or die at this point, right. I don’t claim to be innocent, I am innocent.’
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Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett called fresh charges against him ‘frustrating’
Smollett was pictured arriving into Los Angeles on Tuesday with his lawyer Tina Glandian
The actor returned to a Chicago courtroom on Monday to plead not guilty to felony charges that he lied to police over a ‘hoax’ attack he was accused of making up last January
Smollett has been charged with six counts of felony disorderly conduct during Monday’s hearing.
His attorney, Tina Glandian, also submitted a motion to the circuit court to dismiss the case based on a double-jeopardy challenge, claiming that Smollett had already been punished in the original case by forfeiting his original $10,000 bond.
She said Tuesday: ‘He is holding up, we will get through this. We have faith that the system will eventually work.’
Moments after he arrived at court Monday, Abel and Ola Osundairo – the two Nigerian brothers who say he paid them to attack him – showed up at the courthouse with their attorney.
She told DailyMail.com last week that the pair were prepared to testify for either side in the case and that they want Smollett to ‘tell the truth’.
Immediately on Monday morning, Smollett’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the charges. He then pleaded not guilty across the board.
Last March, Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of the charge in the same courthouse last year, just weeks before the Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office abruptly announced it was dismissing the case, angering police and City Hall.
Jussie Smollett arrives at Cook County courthouse on Monday with his brother, Jocqui (left), Jojo (far left) and Jake (right) to face six felony counts of lying to police
Brothers Abel (left) and Ola (right) Osundairo arrive at court. They say they are prepared to testify for either side
Smollett’s attorney, Tina Glandian, pictured together, submitted a motion to the circuit court to dismiss the case based on a double-jeopardy challenge, claiming that Smollett had already been punished in the original case by forfeiting his original $10,000 bond
Smollett lost his role as a singer-songwriter in Empire, a Fox television hip-hop drama, after accusations arose against him
Smollett told police that two masked men attacked him as he was walking home in the early hours of January 29, 2019.
He said they made racist and homophobic insults, beat him and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing, and that at least one of his attackers was a white man who told him he was in ‘MAGA country,’ a reference to President Donald Trump´s campaign slogan, ‘Make America Great Again.’
He also said they called him the N-word.
Nigerian brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo were then identified by police as the people he’d said attacked him. The pair knew Smollett and told the authorities he paid them to attack him in a staged incident to allegedly boost his celebrity profile and salary.
Smollett was then hit with a 16-count grand jury indictment and faced more than 50 years behind bars — until State’s Attorney Kim Foxx suddenly dropped all the charges last March in exchange for him doing community service.
It was a decision that blindsided and outraged Chicago’s former mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Chief of Police Eddie Johnson.
Smollett walked into the courthouse in the middle of a huddle of his relatives and lawyers
Smollett’s sisters, Jurnee (left) and Jazz (right) also accompanied him to court
Smollett, who has all along insisted he is innocent, then sued the city for malicious prosecution.
His attorney Tina Glandian issued a statement Tuesday saying: ‘The attempt to re-prosecute Mr. Smollett one year later on the eve of the Cook County State’s Attorney election is clearly all about politics not justice.’
There have been various rounds of civil litigation, but the cases have been delayed because it has been so difficult to identify an impartial prosecutor.
Webb was eventually brought in to examine the case.
The saga began on January 30 last year when it emerged that Smollett claimed he had been the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack.
At the time, it seemed he had been walking home from Subway in the middle of the night after returning home late on a delayed flight when he was approached.
He told police afterwards his attackers identified him from the show he was on, Empire, and called him both the N-word and ‘f****t’.
He said they beat him, poured bleach on him then put a noose around his neck.
Smollett went back to his apartment where his friend, Frank Gaston, was. It was Gaston who insisted they call police.