A Cook County grand jury has indicted ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett on 16-counts. The state’s attorney’s office confirmed the grand jury’s decision yesterday.
ABC7 Chicago reported:
“Smollett was originally charged with one felony count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office on Feb. 20. Now the grand jury has returned 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.
“The TV actor claimed he was the victim of a vicious hate crime in the Streeterville neighborhood on Jan. 29. He said two men physically attacked him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs, threw a chemical liquid on him and looped a rope around his neck.
“The grand jury returned two separate sets of charges, one of each lie Smollett allegedly told. The first set are related to what Smollett told officers about the alleged attack, including that the attackers called him racial and homophobic slurs, struck him with their hands, put a noose around his neck, and poured some sort of chemical substance on him.
“The second set of charges are related to the second interview Smollett had with police about the alleged attack later that day, saying the men attacked him from behind and he fell to the ground, at which point the men continued kicking him. Smollett also told police on this occasion that one of his attackers was white.
“The two sets of charges correspond to two sets of police officers Smollett allegedly lied to.
“A charge of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report carries a possible sentence of probation to three years. Smollett already pleaded not guilty to the first disorderly conduct charge. He was taken into custody and posted $100,000 bond to be freed.
“Experts believe it is likely he will strike a plea deal and potentially not spend time in prison.
Smollett’s attorney Mark Geragos released a statement on Friday night:
“The fact of an indictment is not unexpected. We knew that there is no way they would expose their evidence to a public airing and subject their witnesses to cross-examination.
What is unexpected however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts against Jussie. This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines in order to distract from the internal investigation launched to investigate the outrageous leaking of false information by the Chicago Police Department and the shameless and illegal invasion of Jussie’s privacy in tampering with his medical records.
The attack was allegedly staged because Smollett was disgruntled with the small amount of attention another fake hate crime he staged received. He sent himself is childish drawing of a black man being hanged. Smollett could face federal charges for that little stunt.
This second fake hate crime was coordinated with two Nigerian brothers, who were captured on surveillance video buying the masks.
Empire’s executive producers cut Smollett from the program’s final episodes this season in the wake of the actor’s legal woes. “While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays,” Empire producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo, and Dennis Hammer said of the decision. “We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of ‘Jamal’ from the final two episodes of the season.”