A Cook County grand jury has returned a 16-count indictment against “Empire” star Jussie Smollett, according to court records. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office confirmed the indictment, which they said was returned by a grand jury on Thursday.
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 “Empire” actor claimed (who was written out of the final two episodes this season and is unlikely to return in the future) he was the victim of a vicious hate crime in the Streeterville neighborhood in Chicago 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 they 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.
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.