Published: Sat, March 09, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Jussie Smollett indicted on 16 felony counts in alleged hate crime hoax

Jussie Smollett indicted on 16 felony counts in alleged hate crime hoax

An Illinois grand jury has indicted "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, according to the Cook County State Attorney's Office.

But after police detained two men who were "persons of interest", police sources revealed that police suspected Smollett knew the men and allegedly had paid them $3,500 to stage the attack.

He is expected to cut a plea deal with authorities, according to experts cited by ABC.

The second set of charges are related to the second interview Smollett had with police about the alleged attack later that day.

Jussie Smollett Charged By Grand Jury Over Empire Star’s Alleged Hate Attack
Handout via Getty Images

Counts one to seven apply to the comments he made to police officer Muhammed Baig, who first responded to his apartment when his friend called 911 on January 29. In a statement last month, officials said they had traced the two attackers using taxi and rideshare records, phone records, and surveillance cameras.

Smollett and his legal team have so-far denied all allegations against the actor. The actor claimed two masked individuals beat him, hurled racist and homophobic slurs, and doused him with an unknown chemical substance. Police initially investigated the case as a possible hate crime.

Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men near his apartment in Chicago at around 2 a.m. on January 29.

"The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett", the statement read.

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