Jussie Smollett Indicted on 16 Felony Counts for Allegedly Staged Attack
A grand jury returned a whopping 16 counts against Empire star Jussie Smollett Friday, according to multiple reports.
Smollett, 36, had originally been charged with just one count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report of an alleged attack on January 29. But on Friday, things went from bad to worse for the actor, who is now facing 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct.
The grand jury returned two separate sets of charges, ABC News reports. One set was related to what Smollett told police about the alleged attack, while a second set was in relation to his interview with police the following day.
Both sets carry a possible sentence of up to four years, ABC reports. Smollett had previously pleaded not guilty to his first disorderly conduct charge.
Among Smollett’s claims were that he was attacked by two masked men in Chicago who yelled homophobic and racist slurs at the actor. Smollett claimed that the men charged at him shortly after 2 a.m., assaulted him, threw bleach on him and put a noose around his neck. Smollett also told police that a threatening letter containing a white powdery substance had been sent to the set of Empire just a week before the alleged attack.
Chicago police arrested two men, brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo, in connection to the attack, which they were investigating as a hate crime, but released them shortly after.
Then, in a stunning turn of events, police said in a press conference last month that they believed Smollett had actually paid the two brothers to help him stage the attack. Police claimed Smollett’s motive was that he was unhappy with his salary on the FOX show, which is currently set to begin its 5th season.
Smollett has since been fired from the show. He was released on $100K bail and ordered to surrender his passport, according to reports.