CHICAGO (Reuters) – A grand jury in Chicago has returned a 16-count felony indictment towards tv actor Jussie Smollett, accusing him of falsely reporting to police that he was the sufferer of a hate-crime assault, based on court docket paperwork on Friday.
FILE PHOTO: Jussie Smollett exits Cook County Department of Corrections after posting bail in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Lott/File Photo
Smollett, who’s black and overtly homosexual and performs a homosexual character on the Fox community hip-hop drama “Empire,” was charged final month in a single-count felony grievance with mendacity to police a couple of supposed racist and homophobic assault by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Neither Smollett’s legal professional nor his spokeswoman might instantly be reached for remark on the most recent prices.
At the time he was initially charged, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson mentioned that Smollett had paid two brothers $35,000 to stage an assault on him in a hoax orchestrated to in some way additional his performing profession.
Smollett, 36, was arrested and later launched on $100,000 bond two weeks in the past in reference to the preliminary cost towards him.
The indictment, returned by a grand jury on Thursday, prices Smollett with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct alleging that he gave false accounts of an assault on him to police investigators. A duplicate of the doc was furnished to Reuters by a Cook County Circuit Court clerk.
According to earlier police recitations of Smollett’s story, he reported that two masked males approached him on a darkened road Jan. 29 shouting racial and homophobic slurs, struck him within the face, doused him with an “unknown chemical substance” and wrapped a rope round his neck earlier than they fled.
Smollett additionally instructed police, based on authorities, that the attackers had yelled, “This is MAGA country,” referring to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. Smollett took himself to a hospital however was not critically damage, police had mentioned.
News of the purported assault unfold shortly on social media, with many expressing outrage whereas others urged the story was fabricated at the same time as Chicago police insisted their detectives have been treating the matter critically.
His attorneys final month mentioned they have been conducting an intensive investigation for the needs of mounting a protection of the actor.
Smollett himself, based on stories in media citing unnamed sources, apologized final month to the solid and crew on the set of “Empire” however maintained his innocence.
Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Writing by Steve Gorman; enhancing by Leslie Adler and James Dalgleish
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