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Jussie Smollett calls for ‘truth and justice’ while declaring his innocence

Actor’s lawyer says security is a concern as they work their way through the crowds at the courthouse.

Actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on Feb. 24 after pleading not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct.
Actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on Feb. 24 after pleading not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

The Smollett saga . . .

Jussie. Jazz. Jocqui. Jojo. Jake. Jurnee.

The Smollett siblings.

And when they arrived in tandem at the Leighton Criminal Court building Monday to attend the latest chapter of actor Jussie Smollett’s alleged “homophobic racial assault” case, the Smollett family felt they exited their black SUV prepared.

“We all prayed together in the car en route to the courthouse via a speakerphone to my pastor in New York,” Smollett told Sneed via his Chicago attorney, William Quinlan, who was also in the vehicle.

“I’ve been judged guilty by the former superintendent of police and two Chicago mayors and I’m innocent,” said Smollett. “We need to bring this to truth and justice. We need an end to this tunnel no matter where it takes us.

“I loved Chicago and was in the process of purchasing a two-bedroom condo in the South Loop after ‘Empire’ had wrapped,” he added. “I was going to live here after the show was over.”

Smollett, cornered Tuesday by TMZ at the L.A. airport after his Chicago court appearance where he entered a not guilty plea to a six-count indictment by Special Prosecutor Dan Webb for allegedly filing false police reports, claimed he was willing to “fight or die” to clear his name.

Smollett, who lives in New York, is now back home in California with his family.

The Smollett indictments on six counts of disorderly conduct allege the actor lied to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack on a frigid night in Chicago in January 2019. Webb was appointed last summer to investigate the Smollett matter after the first charges were abruptly dropped by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office, bringing controversy and national scrutiny.

“I was stunned when the family began to pray via speakerphone in the car,” said Quinlan. “It was quite an experience. There were no “Our Fathers” and “Hail Marys.” It was pretty intense as well as special for an Irish Catholic boy like me.”

Quinlan also tells Sneed he is worried about security the next time the Smollett case goes before the judge in Chicago.

“The courthouse crowd was significant,” he said. ‘We were tripping all over each other in and out of the courthouse,” said Quinlan. “I stumbled when a photographer got in the way and had to help him up.

“Quite honestly, I’m concerned for the safety of everyone and may ask the sheriff’s office for security advice.”

Stay tuned.

Sneedlings . . .

I spy: DJ Tiësto performing at TAO last Friday night. . . . Also spotted Joe “the Grocer” Amabile from ABC’s the Bachelorette. . . . Saturday’s birthdays: Tony Robbins, 60; Antonio Sabato Jr., 48; and Peter Scanavino, 40. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Justin Bieber, 26; Lupita Nyong’o, 37; Harry Belafonte, 93 and a belated 100th birthday wish to June Palm.