A Chicago grand jury charged actor Jussie Smollett with 16 felony counts for falsely reporting a hate crime. Smollett was charged last month with a felony charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly making up the hate crime. Smollett has insisted he is innocent.
The grand jury returned the indictment on Thursday, CBS Chicago reported. Each one of the charges carries a maximum count of four years in prison, meaning he could face 64 years in total.
The 36-year-old actor, who is black and openly gay, plays Jamal Lyon on Fox’s hit TV show, “Empire,” a drama that chronicles a family-run record label. He told police he was attacked by two masked men – at least one of whom he claimed to be white – when he was returning home from a Subway sandwich store Jan. 29 around 2 a.m.
Smollett claimed the two men had beat him, said homophobic and racial slurs and put a noose around his neck before fleeing. He said he heard, “this is MAGA country,” an apparent reference to President Trump’s campaign slogan.
The reality is that he allegedly paid two Nigerian brothers Osundairo to participate in the so-called “hate crime” which was no more than a hoax.
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Jussie Smollett indicted on 16 felony counts by grand jury
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