A grand jury in Chicago has indicted
out actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts related to making a
false report, the AP reported.
The 36-year-old Smollett, who is black
and gay, has claimed that he was the victim of a racist and
homophobic attack that allegedly took place January 29 in Chicago.
Last month, Smollett was charged with one count of felony disorderly
conduct. He was released on $100,000 bail.
Police, who initially investigated the
incident as a possible hate crime, have accused Smollett of
orchestrating his own attack because he was “dissatisfied with his
salary” on the Fox drama Empire. Police believe Smollett
paid two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack.
Smollett has denied the charges.
“This redundant and vindictive
indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines
in order to distract from the internal investigation launched to
investigate the outrageous leaking of false information by the
Chicago Police Department,” Mark Geragos, an attorney for Smollett,
said of the grand jury's indictment, which he described as
Smollett “adamantly maintains his
innocence,” Geragos added.
The indictment dated Thursday was made
public on Friday.
Smollett dropped from remainder of Empire