Jussie Smollett has appeared in court in Chicago and pleaded not guilty to lying to police about being victim of an alleged attack.

The Empire actor was arraigned on a 16-count felony indictment, of which he has denied all charges.

Smollett was charged in February with the felony offence of filing a false police report over an alleged homophobic and racist attack in January.

Doubt was cast over his claims that he had been the victim of a hate crime when it emerged that he allegedly knew two men being investigated for the incident. He has denied all allegations against him.

Each count in the grand jury indictment carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $25,000 fine. It is reported that upon conviction in such cases sentences run concurrently with probation the likely outcome.

Smollett will next appear in court on April 17.