Jussie Smollett insisted he is innocent in a tearful meeting with his 'Empire' co-stars. Picture: Reuters/Joshua Lott

Chicago - Jussie Smollett insisted he is innocent in a tearful meeting with his 'Empire' co-stars.

The 36-year-old actor has been accused of orchestrating an apparent racist and homophobic attack on himself last month but after appearing in court on Thursday, he posted $10 000 bond and headed straight for the Chicago set of the musical drama series.

After keeping the cast and crew waiting for at least 30 minutes to film a scene, Jussie was "very emotional" when he arrived to the Cinespace Studio and then addressed everyone there.

According to TMZ, he told them: "I'm sorry I've put you all through this and not answered any calls. I wanted to say I'm sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this."

Sources told the website producers told the actor to leave the set and return later as he had clearly been crying a lot, and so was unable to shoot his scene.

Jussie - who also surrendered his passport following the hearing - was later praised by his legal team as a "young man of impeccable character" in a statement that hit out at the way the investigation has been handled.

The lawyers said in a statement: "Today we witnessed an organised law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system.

"The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election.

"Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing."

Meanwhile, though 'Empire' bosses have previously vowed to stand by the star - who portrays Jamal Lyon - they have now issued a new statement in which they admitted they are "evaluating the situation".

20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said in a statement to CNN: "We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options."

Police have claimed Jussie faked the attack because he was "dissatisfied" with his $100,000-per-episode fee on 'Empire' and wanted to boost his profile.

Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson slammed him as a "troubled young man" who has "taken advantage of the pain and anger of racism to further his career" by allegedly lying that he was attacked by racist and homophobic assailants.

Bang Showbiz