Jussie Smollett's legal team pushes back on 16 felony counts against the actor

The legal team called the indictment "vindictive" and insisted that the "Empire" actor was a victim of a hate crime, not the orchestrator of said crime.
1:48 | 03/10/19

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Transcript for Jussie Smollett's legal team pushes back on 16 felony counts against the actor
After the star was charged with 16 new felonies. A grand jury indicted him for allegedly staging a hate crime on himself. In a statement his lawyer said those charges are vindictive. Here's ABC's Zachary kiesch. Reporter: Tonight, actor jussie smollett firing back. His legal team digging in, claiming he's innocent of the 16 felony counts he's been charged with. I defy you to find one commentator who hasn't been caught up in this kind of -- this media lynching. Reporter: The charges that smollett faked a racist and homophobic attack that included tying a noose around his neck, could land him serious prison time. His high-profile defense attorney claiming smollett has not been given the presumption of innocence. I defy anybody to find any indictment anywhere, where somebody has brought 16 counts for being a victim of a hate crime basically. Reporter: But as for his claim of a hate crime, a grand jury found "No reasonable ground for believing that such an offense had been committed." I'm an advocate. You do such a disservice when you lie about things like this. Make something like this up or add something to it. Reporter: The two men, once considered suspects, say they were paid by the actor to carry out the attack. The brothers seen here for the first time since they were intogether rated. It's not the Chicago police saying he did something. It's the evidence, the facts, and the witnesses that are saying this. Smollett has been adamant that he's innocent of these crimes which carry serious prison time. His lawyer telling ABC news there has been no conversations related to a plea agreement. Zachary, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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