Judge grants Jussie Smollett special permission to travel during criminal trial

A Chicago judge has granted embattled actor Jussie Smollett special permission to leave Illinois while he awaits trial.

The Empire star is free to travel only to New York and California to meet with his legal team, Page Six reports.

Smollett is facing disorderly conduct charges for filing an alleged false police report after claiming he was the victim of a racially charged homophobic attack. As TheGrio previously reported, texts between the singer and the Nigerian-American brothers who are accused of helping him orchestrate the “attack” confirm that the $3500 check at the center of this case was indeed for fitness training and not payment for the alleged hate crime. This calls the claims by the Superintendent of Chicago PD, Eddie Johnson, into question.

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Johnson appeared exclusively on ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday and stood by his previous statement that the two brothers told police that Smollett gave them a $3,500 check to carry out the elaborate hoax.

“Let me tell, you, Robin, there’s a lot more evidence that hasn’t been presented yet, and does not support the version he gave,” the police chief told “GMA” anchor Robin Roberts. “There’s still a lot of physical evidence, video evidence and testimony that just simply does not support his version of what happened.”

He added, “It’s important for people to recognize that it’s not the Chicago Police Department saying he did something, it’s the evidence, the facts and the witnesses that are saying this.”

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Smollett denies any role in staging the crime and turned himself in to police last Thursday morning.

A judge set bond at $100,000 and ordered him to surrender his passport. The actor pleaded not guilty and was released after posting 10 percent of his bail. Empire producers then announced that Smollett’s character had been written out of the last two episodes of the season.

His next court appearance is scheduled for March 14.