CHICAGO, IL — (03-08-19) — “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted on 16 felony counts by a grand jury in Chicago, after allegedly lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime. The indictment was announced Friday, March 8.

Jussie Smollett was charged last month with felony disorderly conduct for the staged attack that took place on Jan. 29, 2019. According to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Smollett was charged by a grand jury of 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for making a false report, according to a criminal complaint.

Smollett and his attorneys have previously denied the allegations against him and say that they will fight these charges.

In a statement released after Smollett was charged, his attorneys said…”He enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked.”

Actor Jussie Smolett, 36, who is black and gay, said that his attackers poured what he believed was bleach over him and put a noose around his neck. The Chicago police department immediately launched an investigation into the incident and said that they were leaning towards thie incident being labeled a hate crime.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told NBC News at the time of his arrest in late February that the investigation into the alleged attack demanded “considerable” police resources. He said that at one point the department had 12 detectives scouring surveillance videos.

Chicago detectives also said Smollett refused to turn over his cell phone and phone records for the investigation. As the investigation progressed, detectives said that Smollett was cooperating with the investigation and that he later turned over a PDF file with partial phone records to investigators.

Jussie Smollett is accused of recruiting the two men to orchestrate the racist and homophobic hate crime because he was upset with his salary on the Empire TV show.

Smollett is scheduled to be arraigned on March 14.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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