US actor's case hurt by 'misinformation': defense attorney


Chicago (AFP)

An attorney representing US television actor Jussie Smollett, accused of staging a false hate-motivated attack, said Tuesday the case was mired in "misinformation" and "demonstrably false" evidence.

Police say Smollett -- who gained fame on Fox musical drama "Empire" -- staged the attack in a bid to gain publicity and a bigger paycheck.

Attorney Tina Glandian, appearing Tuesday before the chief criminal judge in Chicago on whether to allow news cameras in the courtroom during a hearing scheduled for later this week, said the defense welcomed the cameras.

"There has been a lot of misinformation in this case that has been presented as fact and evidence against Mr Smollett, which is demonstrably false," Glandian said.

"We welcome cameras in the courtroom so that the public and the media can see the actual evidence and what we believe is actually going to be the lack of evidence against Mr. Smollett."

The 36-year-old actor -- who is black and gay -- has been charged with 16 felony counts for allegedly hiring two acquaintances to stage a street attack in downtown Chicago, complete with homophobic and racial slurs, while invoking Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan.

He has been dropped from the last two episodes of the show's current season, and his future is now in the hands of the court.