CHICAGO — "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted on 16 felony counts stemming from his report of an attack in Chicago earlier this year, ABC News reports.
Smollett claimed he was the victim of a hate crime in Chicago in which two men beat him up and yelled racists and homophobic slurs at him and looped a rope around his neck.
On Thursday, a grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 counts of disorderly conduct, all of which are felony charges.
The grand jury returned two separate sets of charges, Robert Foley, a senior adviser in the state attorney's office told ABC News.
The first set of charges is related to what Smollett told officers about the alleged attack, including that the attackers called him racial and homophobic slurs, struck him with their hands, put a noose around his neck, and poured some sort of chemical substance on him.
The second set of charges is related to the second interview Smollett had with police about the alleged attack later that day.
The new set of charges each carry a possible sentence of probation to four years, according to WLS. Smollett already pleaded not guilty to the first disorderly conduct charge. He was taken into custody and posted $100,000 bond to be freed.
Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men near his apartment in Chicago at around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29. The two men, Smollett initially said, shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him as a rope was wrapped around his neck and an unknown chemical substance was poured on him. The alleged assailants yelled "MAGA country," a reference to President Donald Trump's "Make American Great Again" slogan, police were told.
Police identified and questioned two "persons of interest" captured on surveillance video near the scene around the time of the alleged attack. The men, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, were arrested on Feb. 13 but then released without charges, with police saying they were no longer considered suspects.
While being questioned by investigators, the brothers claimed that Smollett paid them $3,500 to help orchestrate and stage the crime after he became upset that a letter threatening him, sent Jan. 22 to the Fox studio where the television series "Empire" is filmed, did not get enough attention, law enforcement sources told ABC News.
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