In a stunning turn of events, Empire star Jussie Smollett has been indicted on 16 felony counts by a grand jury in Chicago.
Smollett was charged last month with felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report on January 29.
Smollett had claimed he was attacked during a late-night food run by two masked men. The 36-year-old actor alleged the men beat him, put a noose around his neck, and poured an unidentified liquid on his head – all while yelling homophobic and racist slurs.
Police later tracked down the two men using surveillance footage, who say Smollett paid them to stage the attack.
Chicago’s local ABC News affiliate says the grand jury returned two separate sets of charges.
One related to Smollett’s initial statement to the police about the alleged hate crime. The second set of charges are in regard to his followup interview with the police later that same day.
ABC News reports, “The new set of charges each carry a possible sentence of probation to four years.”
During a press conference last month, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that the actor initially faked a homophobic, racist letter to himself.
But when the actor didn’t get the response he desired, Johnson said Smollett paid the two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”
Stay tuned – developing story…