Jussie Smollett is indicted by grand jury on a 16-count felony charge

Jussie Smollett is indicted by grand jury on a 16-count felony charge

An Illinois grand jury has indicted Empire actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, according to the Cook County State Attorney’s Office.

The grand jury reportedly returned two separate sets of charges. The first set is 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.

In a statement released on Twitter Friday evening, Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi referred calls to prosecutors about the grand jury indictments.

“As Superintendent [Eddie] Johnson stated, allegations against Mr. Smollett are shameful & if proven, they are an affront to the people of Chicago who embraced him as a neighbor & respected him as a role model. We stand behind the work of detectives…”

Smollett already pleaded not guilty to the first disorderly conduct charge. He was ordered to surrender his passport and taken into custody, after which he posted $100,000 bond to be freed.

Smollett told the police he was attacked by two masked men near his apartment in Chicago at around 2 AM on January 29. The two men, Smollett initially said, shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him as a rope was wrapped around his neck and an unknown chemical substance was poured on him. The alleged assailants yelled “MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make American Great Again” slogan, Smollett told police.

Police identified and questioned two persons of interest captured on surveillance video near the scene around the time of the alleged attack. The men, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, were arrested on February 13 but then released without charges, with police saying they were no longer considered suspects.

While being questioned by investigators, the brothers claimed that Smollett paid them $3,500 to help orchestrate and stage the crime after he became upset that a threatening letter addressed to him and delivered on January 22 to the Fox studio where Empire is filmed did not get enough attention, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Smollett, who has consistently denied any role in staging the supposed crime, turned himself in last month.

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