10 March, 2019
A Cook County grand jury has indicted "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. The grand jury returned the disorderly conduct indictment on Thursday, per the indictment obtained by ET on Friday.
Smollett has remained free on $100,000 bond since his release hours after surrendering to authorities on February 21. Smollett's character was removed from the final two episodes of the hip-hop drama "Empire" after he was arrested and charged with staging a hoax hate crime attack on himself, according to show officials. That America was a disgustingly racist country, that blacks would never get a fair shake of the stick and Orange Man Bad given those MAGA hats.
In addition to making these statements to Officer Muhammed Baig, some of the counts are for false statements reportedly made to Officer Kim Murray.
Smollett's attorney, Mark Geragos, blasted the indictment in a statement as "redundant and vindictive", adding that his client "adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption".
BREAKING: Jussie Smollett Hit With Additional 16-Count Indictiment From Cook County Grand Jury
In reality, however, according to police, Smollett paid two pals, Ola and Abel Osundairo, $3,500 by check to stage the hate crime attack.
Smollett is set to be arraigned March 14, CBS 2 reports.
Police said the two brothers wore gloves during the staged attack, and did punch Smollett, but the scratches and bruises on Smollett's face most likely were self-inflicted.
The indictment read: "Jussie Smollett knew that at the time of this transmission there was no reasonable ground for believing that such an offense had been committed".
The TV executives revealed that they have taken the decision to remove his character from the final two episodes of the fifth season, which is now airing.
Sergeant Rocco Alioto told CNN: "I would like to point out that a lot of the information out there was inaccurate and there were numerous agencies involved in this investigation".
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