Jussie Smollett is now facing six new charges in relation to the infamous incident where the actor allegedly staged a hate crime on himself. The charges were announced on Tuesday (Feb. 11) by a grand jury in Chicago, The New York Times reports. Since the summer of 2019, the case has been in the hands of special prosecutor Dan. K Webb, who was assigned after a judge determined Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx did not conduct it properly the first time.
The former Empire actor’s charges consist of making false police reports for the January 2019 incident. Police claim Smollett planned the attack with brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo in hopes of gaining publicity while adding to the cultural conversation around racial tension.
“Based on the recommendation of the OSP (Office of the Special Prosecutor), a Cook County grand jury returned a six-count indictment charging Jussie Smollett with making four separate false reports to Chicago Police Department officers related to his false claims that he was the victim of a hate crime, knowing that he was not the victim of a crime,” Webb said.
Smollett was believed to be attacked by the brothers, who appeared to be brawn Caucasian supporters of President Donald Trump. The brothers used homophobic and racial slurs as they yelled, “This is MAGA country” and placed a noose around the actor’s neck. After the incident, Smollett was met with sympathy from celebrities and the general public. The praise didn’t last long as investigators talked to the brothers who confessed to working alongside Smollett. The actor has denied all involvement while the Osundairo brothers maintain that Smollett allegedly orchestrated the attack because of unequal pay on Empire.
Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, a representative for the Osundairo brothers, shared a statement with CNN about the charges.
“As stated before, they are fully committed to the public knowing the truth about what occurred on January 29, 2019,” she said. “The Osundairo brothers will continue to cooperate with that process and they thank the Special Prosecutor’s office for their tireless work in seeing that justice was administered.”
Smollett was initially handed a 16 count indictment that included disorderly conduct charges. Foxx dropped the charges in March 2019 after Smollett completed community service and paid upwards of $10,000 in bail. The action was met with immediate backlash and the city sued the actor for $130,000. Protesters also called for Foxx to step down from her position.
Smollett’s attorneys have slammed the case, claiming the charges were delivered in “bad faith” with unreliable testimonies from the Osundairo brothers. They also questioned the evidence like a check that was suggested to be payment for the attack. Smollett stated the payment was for personal training sessions as the actor was preparing for a music video.
The case has gone on to be mocked and critiqued by the likes of Dave Chappelle and was the inspiration for a recent episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Smollett will return to court Feb. 24.