Cameras allowed in courtroom for "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett's hearing Thursday

Jussie Smollett was released last week after posting $10,000 cash. He was ordered to surrender his passport.
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By: CBS News, Associated Press
March 12, 2019

Cameras will be allowed at Thursday's hearing in the criminal trial of "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, a judge ruled Tuesday. Smollett has been accused of staging a hate crime against himself and was indicted last week on 16 felony counts.

Smollett's attorney, Tina Glandian, said that she would welcome cameras in the courtroom for Thursday's hearing. She said there has been a lot of leaked misinformation and that cameras would allow the public to "see the evidence and the lack thereof."

Prosecutors also agreed on allowing cameras on Thursday. Judge Leroy Martin said the judge picked to oversee the trial would decide whether cameras would be allowed during the trial.

After the hearing, Glandian told reporters that evidence has been presented against Smollett that is "demonstrably false." She said, "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."

Smollett is charged with 16 counts accusing him of lying to the police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two masked men in downtown Chicago. Prosecutors allege that Smollett, who is black and gay, enlisted the help of two other black men and staged the Jan. 29 attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career.

Smollett's attorneys have called the charges "prosecutorial overkill." The actor, who is free on bond, maintains his innocence.