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story.lead_photo.caption Actor Jussie Smollet, right, stands with his attorney Tina Glandian before Cook County Circuit Court Judge Steven Watkins at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, Thursday, March 14, 2019 in Chicago.

Empire actor Jussie Smollett pleaded innocent Thursday to charges accusing him of lying to the police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in downtown Chicago a few weeks ago. Lawyer Tina Glandian entered the plea on behalf of the 36-year-old actor during a hearing in Cook County Circuit Court. Smollett, who left the courthouse without speaking to reporters, is charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct. Prosecutors allege that Smollett, who is black and gay and plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox TV show, hired two friends to help him stage the attack on him in Chicago early on the morning of Jan. 29. They say Smollett was unhappy about his salary and wanted to drum up publicity to help his career. Smollett has denied that he staged the attack and maintains he is innocent.

• A legal fight between Buzz Aldrin and his adult children over whether the former astronaut is competent to manage his affairs ended Wednesday, averting a messy, intrafamily squabble that would have loomed over this summer's 50th anniversary celebrations of the Apollo 11 moonwalking. Two of Aldrin's children have withdrawn their petition seeking guardianship of Aldrin's affairs, and the former astronaut has dropped his lawsuit against his children and former manager, said Aldrin's attorney, Keith Durkin, who wouldn't offer any further details. Aldrin, 89, said in a statement that the end of the legal fighting will help restore family harmony. "This was the most charitable way to manage a difficult situation, as this year, which marks 50 years since we first stepped foot on the moon, is too important to my family, the nation and me," said Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon after Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969.

• Fox News host Tucker Carlson said he's scuttling plans for a TV studio near his vacation home in Bryant Pond, Maine, because of publicity. Carlson planned to buy an old town garage and transform it into a studio under a deal that called for him to pay $30,000 for the building while Fox would pay to equip the studio, the Sun Journal newspaper reported. Carlson described himself as "bitter" and "crushed" and called the news report a "total violation of my privacy." He said Fox would never leave expensive equipment in a small, rural studio whose presence is widely known. The flap comes as Carlson deals with fallout from the disclosure by Media Matters of controversial comments he made on Bubba the Love Sponge radio show years ago, before he joined Fox.

Photo by AP file photo
In this Feb. 5, 2019, file photo, astronaut Buzz Aldrin arrives for President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Photo by AP file photo
In this March 2, 2017, file photo, Tucker Carlson, host of "Tucker Carlson Tonight" poses for photos in a Fox News Channel studio in New York.

A Section on 03/15/2019

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