Jussie Smollett Indicted on 16 Felony Counts by Chicago Grand Jury By Ryan Parker
A Chicago grand jury on Friday indicted Empire actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts for allegedly lying to police about a supposed hate crime attack.
A request for more information from the Cook County State's Attorney's Office was not immediately returned, but the indictment reads, in part, "Jussie Smollett knew that at the time … there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed,” according to section cited by CBS Chicago News.
A request for comment from Smollett's attorneys was not immediately returned.
The actor was charged last month with felony disorderly conduct and released on $100,000 bail.
The actor reported in late January that he had been viciously attacked by two men who yelled pro-Donald Trump remarks mixed with racist and homophobic language.
Chicago detectives later determined that the Empire actor allegedly set up the highly publicized attack to further his career.
Smollett was subsequently arrested and charged with a felony in the case.
Smollett and his attorneys maintain the actor has anything to do with the assault other than being the victim of a hate crime.
According to police, two brothers helped Smollett orchestrate the faux assault and are now working with detectives to build the department's case against the actor.
Smollett did one interview with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts after the assault report but has since gone off the radar, only speaking through his attorneys.
The actor is due back in court from the disorderly conduct charge on March 14.
In another aspect of the case, Chicago police have opened an internal investigation to determine who leaked information about the Smollett case, the department confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on Friday.
"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," Sgt. Rocco Alioto said in a statement to THR. "As a standard procedure when there are allegations of information being leaked, an internal investigation has been opened and we are also looking at our vulnerabilities."
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