Jussie Smollett Proclaims Innocence; "Empire" Ratings Take a Huge Hit

Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 felony charges of lying to police in his arraignment Thursday in Chicago.

The Empire star was charged for each lie he supposedly told about his alleged hate crime. His attorney, Mark Geragos, called the indictment "overkill."

Jussiewas arrested on February 20th for filing a false police report claiming he was attacked by two white men who hurled racial and homophobic slurs.

His next court date is set for April 17th.

Meanwhile, Empire's ratings tanked when it returned from winter hiatus last night (Wednesday). The first original episode since the Jussie scandal broke was seen by only 4.4 million viewers. That's down 29 percent from last year’s mid-season premiere. (TMZ)

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