(AllHipHop News) Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has made a rare statement amid accusations that he staged a hate crime, admitting it’s “fight or die at this point.”
The actor/singer stands accused of making a series of false reports to the Chicago Police Department in Illinois last January when he claimed to have been the victim of a vicious hate crime attack in the city.
However, officials insist he staged the incident against himself to gain publicity, paying brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to pull off the beating.
Smollett, who pleaded not guilty to six new felony disorderly conduct charges brought against him earlier this month and requested the dismissal of the case, has remained resolutely silent about the allegations, but in a brief chat with TMZ.com on Tuesday, he once again claimed his innocence.
Asked for his opinions on the American justice system, Smollett referred the question to his lawyer, who said they are hopeful the “system will eventually work.”
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Jussie Smollett added. “It’s fight or die at this point.”
TMZ then asked Smollett if he still claims to be innocent, to which the screen star angrily hit back: “I don’t claim to be innocent, I am innocent.”
Jussie Smollett is due back in court on March 18th.
If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison, mandatory community service, and a $25,000 fine.