Actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted on several counts, stemming from him falsely claiming to be the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. He was previously charged over the hoax, only to see the charges dropped.
The charges against the former ‘Empire’ star were filed by special prosecutor Dan Webb and confirmed by the Cook County Clerk’s Office on Tuesday. Smollett was indicted on six counts, including disorderly conduct, all related to lying to law enforcement or filing false police reports.
“A Cook County grand jury returned a six-count indictment charging Jussie Smollett with making four separate false reports to Chicago Police Department officers related to his false claims that he was the victim of a hate crime, knowing that he was not the victim of a crime,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement Tuesday.
The office said it decided to indict Smollett all over again after concluding state prosecutors failed to prove that the decision to throw out charges against him in the first place was in line with general practice.
The disgraced entertainer was charged on 16 criminal counts last February after he was accused of staging a hate crime on himself outside of his apartment building in Chicago. He had claimed that two men in ski masks assaulted him, tying a noose around his neck as they hurled racial and homophobic slurs. While the charges were abruptly dropped one month later, a special prosecutor was appointed in August to continue looking into the case.
Smollett is scheduled to appear in court on February 24.
The decision to drop the charges stoked outrage nationwide, prompting a series of protests and demands for resignation of State Attorney Kim Foxx, while then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel personally sent Smollett a bill for the $130,000-plus spent on the investigation into the alleged attack. The actor never paid up, forcing the city to sue to collect the funds. Smollett then countered with a lawsuit of his own, alleging he was subjected to “humiliation and extreme distress” in the aftermath of the supposed attack.
Foxx – who is running for reelection in March with the endorsement of Democrat presidential contender Elizabeth Warren – slammed the fresh indictments, arguing they had “questionable” and “James Comey-like” timing only a few weeks out from the upcoming election.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.