A judge is expected to be assigned to Jussie Smollett’s disorderly conduct case when the Empire actor returns to court Thursday (March 14). That judge will then likely ask Smollett to enter a plea.
Smollett is accused of lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two men on Jan. 29 in downtown Chicago.
The actor appeared in court earlier this week when prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to allow cameras during Thursday’s hearing.
Prosecutors allege that Smollett, who is black and gay, staged the attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career. A grand jury in Chicago indicted him on 16 felony counts, which his attorneys have called “prosecutorial overkill.” Smollett, who is free on bond, maintains his innocence.
The actor returned to TV on Wednesday night (March 13), as Empire‘s season five was back from a midseason hiatus. Though Smollett has been written out of the final two episodes of the season, his character, Jamal Lyon, appeared throughout Wednesday’s show, during which he was dealing with the blowback from a series of personal crises.