Judge Sets $100,000 Bail For 'Empire' Actor

Bob Roberts
February 21, 2019 - 3:10 pm
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A judge on Thursday set bail at $100,000 for “Empire” star Jussie Smollett as he appeared in court to face charges he filed a false police report.

The 36-year-old Smollett is accused of lying about having been beaten Jan. 29 in downtown Chicago by two men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs; Smollett is black and openly gay. He was arrested overight, hours after Cook County prosecutors announced Smollett was charged with a felony count of disorderly conduct.

An angry Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said at a news conference Thursday that Smollett sought attention in part because he felt he was underpaid for his work on the FOX television music-industry drama.

The actor did little talking at a court hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building, where Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. declined defense attorneys’ request to release Smollett on his own recognizance. The judge said that would be inappropriate, given the gravity of the allegations.

Smollett posted bond, without comment and moving through a throng of reporters and photographers. He will be on electronic monitoring and is prohibited from speaking with two men whom he allegedly enlisted to help him stage the attack.

Smollett has previously denied faking the incident, even as new information came to light that helped cause his story to unravel. His legal team has promised a vigorous defense but declined comment after court.

FOX studio officials, meanwhile, issued a statement:

“We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”

Smollett was expected to return to court next month.