“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s alleged “racist and homophobic” attack didn’t seem quite right when TMZ broke the news in January, and the tide really began to turn when Smollett, the alleged victim of MAGA thugs who tied a noose around his neck, hired a lawyer and a crisis public relations firm to represent him, the victim.

Last Thursday, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Smollett with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct alleging he gave false accounts of an attack on him to police investigators. Smollett was in court in Chicago Thursday, where he entered a not guilty plea.

Kimberly Bellware reports for Reuters:

Each count carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Smollett and his lawyers declined to comment as they left the courthouse.

Smollett was previously charged last month with felony disorderly conduct for making a false report after he told police he was attacked in January by masked supporters of President Donald Trump who beat him, slung a noose round his neck and poured a liquid chemical on him while shouting racist and homophobic slurs.

So he’s going ahead with the not guilty plea … that’s his right, we suppose. And why not tie up more criminal justice resources?