After Smollett pleaded not guilty, Cook County Judge Steven Watkins granted him permission to travel to NY and California to consult with his attorneys, if he provides 48 hours notice to the court's pretrial services office.
Smollett said "not guilty" as his lawyer entered the plea. On Friday, a grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct - one for each supposed lie he told police - for allegedly staging his own hate crime. He is charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct.
Smollett's next hearing was scheduled for April 17. The actor is now allowed to freely travel to L.A. and to NYC to consult with his lawyers on the case.
According to prosecutors, Smollett wrote a $3,500 check to two brothers and gave them $100 to buy the rope, ski masks, gloves and red baseball caps used in the supposed January 29 attack. He said at least one of them had invoked President Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan by yelling "This is MAGA country" during the attack. The Empire actor is accused of lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack earlier this year.
It has already been announced that Smollett's character won't appear in the final two episodes of the season, and TMZ reports it will be explained that he is "out of the country".
Chicago police eventually arrested Smollett on suspicion that he had faked the incident "to promote his career", saying at a news conference last month that he paid his would-be attackers - brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo - to carry it out.
It was a prominence that sometimes felt a bit too unavoidably close to reality as he delivered lines like "We aint going to beat nobody's ass".
Speaking of the week, today was actually Smollett's second appearance in court this week.
Empire actor Jussie Smollett, center, arrives at the Leighton Criminal Court Building for his hearing on Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Chicago. Cable news talking head Geragos was not in court today but his associate Glandian did the necessary heavy lifting.