- A grand jury has reportedly returned 16 felony counts against “Empire” star Jussie Smollett on Thursday.
- News of the indictments emerged on Friday afternoon. The Cook County State Attorney’s Office confirmed the indictment to several outlets, including ABC 7 and CBS Chicago.
- Smollet was originally charged in February with one felony count for falsely reporting an attack to the police.
- In January, Smollett claimed that he was attacked by two men who shouted homophobic and racist slurs, among other things.
- Now, police believe he staged the attack.
A grand jury returned 16 felony counts against “Empire” star Jussie Smollett on Thursday.
In February, Smollett was initially charged with one felony count for filing a false police report for staging a homophobic, racist attack against himself.
Smollett claimed that when he was attacked in January, two men put a noose around his neck, chanted slogans linked to President Donald Trump, poured an unknown substance on him, and used racist and homophobic slurs.
But police now believe that Smollett orchestrated the attack, hiring two men to carry it out, because he was unhappy with his salary on “Empire,” they said in a press conference last month. Smollett has been accused of paying two brothers, who were previously consider suspects, $US3,500 to take part in the attack.
According to WABC, the jury has handed down two sets of charges. The first pertains to the claims the detailed claims the actor made about the alleged attack. The second set is related to an interview Smollett had with police later on the day that he filed the report.
Earlier on Friday, the Chicago Police Department said that it is investigating its own officers over reports that they leaked information about the Smollett case.
In February, Smollett’s lawyers said that he maintains his innocence and called him a man of “impeccable character and integrity,” the Associated Press reported. He will appear in court on March 14.
A representative for the Cook County State Attorney’s Office did not immediately return INSIDER’s request for comment.
- Read more:
- Chicago’s police chief says he wishes victims of gun violence got the same attention as the Jussie Smollett case
- Jussie Smollett’s character will be removed from the final 2 episodes of this season of ‘Empire’
- Chicago Police laid into Jussie Smollett after his arrest, saying he made up a homophobic attack as a ‘publicity stunt’ because he wanted a bigger salary
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