Jussie Smollett indicted on 6 counts by grand jury of lying to Chicago police, says special prosecutor
A grand jury returned a six-count indictment accusing 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett of lying to Chicago police, a special prosecutor announced on Tuesday.
The charges stem from Smollett's assertion that he was the target of a racist and homophobic attack in January 2019. The indictment was announced by Special prosecutor Dan Webb in a statement. According to a reporton Fox 32, the actor is due in court on February 24.
The actor had reported to Chicago police of an alleged racist and anti-gay attack. After the two men involved in the attack were interrogated, it was reported that the actor had paid brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to stage the attack. He was then charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for purportedly orchestrating the incident. However, the Cook County state attorney office dropped all of the charges a month later with little explanation, angering city officials and the police.
A former state appellate judge, Sheila O'Brien, petitioned for a special prosecutor. On August 23, 2019, a Chicago judge named former US attorney Dan Webb as a special prosecutor to look into why state prosecutors abruptly dropped charges against Smollett that accused him of staging an apparent racist, anti-gay attack against himself.
Throughout the investigation, Smollett had maintained that the attack wasn't staged and after State Attorney Kim Foxx dropped charges against Smollett in return for community service, there was a heavy backlash. At this time Smollett sued the city for malicious prosecution. The actor who had initially faced 50 years behind bars, was suddenly let off with community service and this had also angered former mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Chief of Police Eddie Johnson.
Emmanuel had at that time asked, "Where is the accountability in the system? You cannot have, because of a person's position, one set of rules apply to them and another set of rules apply to everybody else."