‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett indicted on 16 felony counts by grand jury

Sunday, 10 Mar, 2019

Cook County prosecutors chose to charge Smollett with the single count while awaiting the decision of a so-called "John Doe" jury, which sits daily in Chicago criminal court and analyzes evidence presented without knowledge of the perpetrator.

"Jussie adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption", Geragos said.

The Empire actor was hit with a new indictment by a Cook County grand jury.

After being accused of falsely reporting an attack on himself, Jussie Smollett has been indicted on 16 counts by a grand jury.

Police have said they are no longer considered suspects.

In a statement to Fox News on Thursday, a spokesperson for the force confirmed that "an internal investigation has been opened".

Sergeant Rocco Alioto told CNN: "I would like to point out that a lot of the information out there was inaccurate and there were numerous agencies involved in this investigation". Police say that in fact, the two men who have admitted taking part in the staged attack are both black. Smollett, an actor on Empire, said he been the victim of a racist, homophobic attack at the hands of two men who poured bleach on him and put a noose around his neck.

But that isn't how police say it all went down.

The indictment charges Smollett with 16 counts of disorderly conduct.

Irv Miller, a legal analyst at CBS 2, said Smollett could face probation to up to three years in prison if convicted.

The Empire actor became the subject of a national dialogue after he reported a brutal attack on the street to the Chicago Police Department back in January.

After several weeks of investigations and interviews, the actor was charged with felony disorderly conduct, with local police alleging that he paid brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo $3,500 to take part in the supposed staged attack.

Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Mr Smollett told at least one of the brothers that he was "dissatisfied" with his salary on the show. "My concern is that hate crimes will now publicly be met with a level of skepticism that previously didn't happen".

Smollett still maintains that he is innocent.

Whispers about Smollett's potential role in the alleged attack started with reports that he had not fully cooperated with police, and word that detectives in a city full of surveillance cameras could not find video of the attack.