Jussie Smollett is now facing 16 felony counts related to the false hate crime attack he reported back in January.
According to CBS 2 Chicago, a grand jury returned the charges against Smollett on Thursday. The counts, which are Class 4 felonies, focus on the allegedly false statements he gave to two different Chicago Police officers.
As CBS noted, “Each count covers various alleged acts that Smollett falsely described to the officers – including that he was hit by two men, that they yelled racial and homophobic slurs and poured a chemical on him.”
“Jussie Smollett knew that at the time…there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed,” the indictment reportedly stated.
Smollett is scheduled to be arraigned on March 14.
Smollett claimed that he was attacked on January 29, at 2 a.m., by two men wearing Make America Great Again hats. He said they yelled a gay slur at him, poured bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck. Now, police believe Smollett orchestrated the attack.
During a previous press conference, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that Smollett “paid $3,500 to stage this attack” and that “The stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary.”
Since then, Smollett has reportedly been written out of the last two episodes of the upcoming Empire season.
The decision was announced back in February. Executives made the move to remove Smollett’s character on the show — Jamal Lyon — from the last two episodes of the season to avoid upsetting the cast and crew members on set.
“While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out,” said the network’s executive producers.
Source: CBS 2 Chicago