Empire actor Jussie Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct late Thursday. He is set to appear in court on March 14 where he will enter a plea and a judge will be assigned to the case.
Jussie Smollett Grand Jury … by on Scribd
“The specific allegations–“false report of offense”– are Class 4 felonies,” CBS Chicago reports. “The indictment expands the case against the actor. The counts focus on allegedly false statements he made to two different Chicago Police officers. Each count covers various alleged acts that Smollett falsely described to the officers–including that he was hit by two men, that they yelled racial and homophobic slurs and poured a chemical on him.”
“A conviction on any count could lead to a sentence ranging from probation to up to three years in prison,” the Chicago Tribune reports.
The Tribune adds: ‘Smollett, who is African-American and openly gay, has said he was walking from a Subway sandwich shop to his apartment in the 300 block of East North Water Street around 2 a.m. Jan. 29 when two men walked up, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, hit him and wrapped a noose around his neck. Smollett said they also yelled, “This is MAGA country,” referring to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan of “Make America Great Again.”’
Watch a report from CBS Chicago on the indictments:
At a press conference on February 21, Chicago Police Chief Eddie Johnson reported that Smollett had turned himself in after testimony from two brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, who said that Smollett had paid them to stage the attack.
Speaking of the hoax attack, Johnson said, “‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”
Johnson said “This stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary, so he concocted a story about being attacked.”
Said Johnson: “I’m left hanging my head and asking why. Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?”
Added Johnson: “Bogus police reports cause real harm. They do harm to every legitimate victim who’s in need of support by police and investigators.”
“I’m also concerned about what this means moving forward for hate crimes,” said Johnson. “My concern is that hate crimes will now publicly be met with a level of skepticism that previously didn’t happen.”