Jussie Smollett has been granted permission to leave Illinois to travel to California to meet with his legal team ahead of his next court appearance.
The 36-year-old Empire star had to surrender his passport as part of his bail agreement last week.
Smollett had been ordered to stay in Illinois but a Chicago judge on Monday granted him permission to leave the state so that he can work with his lawyer Mark Geragos.
He paid $10,000, ten percent of his $100,000 bond that was set by Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr.
Jussie Smollett, pictured leaving county jail last week, will be allowed to travel to California from Illinois to meet with his lawyer
It is not clear if it is the same judge who granted him permission to travel. Judge Lyke also set R. Kelly’s $1million bond this week.
Geragos, who is based in Los Angeles, has represented Colin Kaepernick, Chris Brown, Michael Jackson and Winona Ryder in the past.
He is now leading Smollett’s team of attorneys to fight the disorderly conduct charge he was hit with last week.
He has not responded to repeated requests for comment nor has Anne Kavanaugh, the Chicago-based crisis manager Smollett hired last month.
Police say they have overwhelming evidence Smollett paid two Nigerian brothers to attack him on January 29 in a staged hate crime because he wanted a higher salary.
Smollett maintains he is innocent and says he was attacked by homophobic, racist assailants who shouted: ‘This is MAGA country!’ while beating him, putting a noose around his neck and pouring bleach on him.
Smollett’s legal team is being headed up by celebrity-favorite Mark Geragos (shown) who is based in Los Angeles. A judge granted the Empire actor permission to travel to L.A. to visit him on Monday
‘Why you following Frank Ocean … you know that n***a gay right,’ Ola tweeted at a man in 2013.
Another tweet read: ‘YOU’RE GAY THATS WHO YOU ARE.’ It’s unclear who Ola was referring to in that tweet.
The actor’s explanation for a $3,500 check he gave one of the brothers, which they say was payment for the hoax, is that he was paying him for personal training.
Smollett’s bond was set last week by Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke (pictured). It is unclear who gave him permission to go to California
Smollett, according to prosecutors, had previously bought drugs off from one of the brothers and knew them because they had appeared on Empire as extras.
On January 29, the day of the attack, he called them an hour before it happened and an hour afterwards, according to prosecutors.
He also spoke to them when they were in Nigeria for two weeks afterwards.
Newly-unearthed tweets from a Twitter account used by the brothers in 2013 where they make homophobic remarks may also be used as evidence in the case.
Smollett has not entered a plea yet.
He is charged with one count of filing a false police report, a Class 4 felony which carries a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine.
After being released on bond last Thursday, he went immediately to the Empire set to tell his colleagues he was innocent.
On Monday, Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson appeared on Good Morning America to defend the Chicago Police Department’s investigation into the attack and double down on his condemnation of Smollett.
Nigerian brothers, Ola (right) and Abel Osundairo (left) who allegedly attacked Jussie Smollett last month made homophobic statements on Twitter that could be used in the Empire star’s defense
Tweets (pictured) from a Twitter account used by brothers Ola Osundairo, 27, and Abel Osundairo, 25, surfaced on Monday as the controversy surrounding Smollett’s alleged attack continues
He batted away the Empire actor’s claim that a $3,500 check for the brothers he allegedly paid to attack him was for personal training and said there was surveillance footage, physical evidence and testimony that proves it was a hoax which is yet to be presented.
‘He still has the presumption of evidence and he’ll get his opportunity in court if he chooses to go that route,’ Johnson said, rejecting Smollett’s lawyers claim that he has been unfairly vilified by the police department and prosecutor’s office.
‘I can tell you this, there’s a lot more evidence that has not been presented yet that does not support his version of the incident.
Smollett will return to court on March 14, a day after Empire returns to screens.
He has already filmed seven episodes of the popular 20th Century Fox show which will air as planned but he will not feature in the final two episodes.
The cast was filming those two episodes when he was arrested. The studio, which had been standing by him, said last week it was now ‘considering its options’.
This is the check Smollett paid Abimbola ‘Abel’ Osundairo to allegedly beat him up on January 29. He backdated it to January 23, according to police. Smollett labeled it ‘5 week nutrition/workout program’ but the brothers say it was for the attack