A Chicago judge has said charges that US actor Jussie Smollett staged a hoax hate crime against himself are “utterly outrageous” and “despicable” if true.
The 36-year-old African-American actor is accused of filing a fake police report claiming he was the victim of a homophobic and racist assault.
Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke, who is also black, said the “most vile” part of the incident was the use of a noose.
Police say he staged the attack because he was “dissatisfied with his salary”.
The star’s lawyers issued a strongly-worded statement after the hearing, calling it an “organised law enforcement spectacle” and describing Mr Smollett as “a young man of impeccable character”.