Jussie Smollett Indicted On 16 Felony Counts
The grand jury decided to charge the actor for "every lie" that was reported in the alleged staged attack.
Jussie Smollett has been indicted on 16 felony charges–one for every lie the actor reportedly told to police related to the Chicago attack.
CBS Chicago reports Smollett's charges stemmed from the grand jury's decision made on Thursday (March 7). The counts represent the statements he made to two Chicago police reports about the January incident. After the actor-singer told police a rope was tied around his neck and the suspect used racial slurs, the case was treated as a hate crime. Things quickly unraveled when it was revealed the "persons of interest" were brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo, who Smollett was familiar with.
“Jussie Smollett knew that at the time … there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed,” according to the indictment. The allegations–“false report of offense”– are Class 4 felonies and if found guilty, can leave the actor facing three years in prison.
Smollett has denied any involvement in the attack. As Cook County police continue to look into the case, the FBI determined the $3,500 paid to the brothers was for personal training sessions.
Those close to the Empire set have also stood by Smollett, claiming that the narrative that the actor staged the attack over the disagreement of his earnings wasn't true.
"Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett 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. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense," Smollett's attorneys said in February when the allegations came to light.
Smollett was previously charged with one count of disorderly conduct for allegedly staging a racist and homophobic attack.
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