Singer/actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted on 16 class four felony charges by a grand jury in relation to an alleged hate crime hoax.
The ‘Empire’ star was arrested last month (Feb 2019) on one count of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, claiming he had been attacked by two individuals outside his apartment in Chicago, Illinois on January 29 – and now his legal problems have doubled with the indictments.
A grand jury multiplied the number of charges against Smollett on Thursday, increasing the total to 16.
The jury members reportedly tallied up the citations for each lie he allegedly told in the initial police report he submitted and the subsequent interview with cops about the attack, which law enforcement officers now insist was a hoax.
“Jussie Smollett knew that at the time… there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed,” the latest indictment document obtained by CBS 2 Chicago reads.
Just one of the felony charges carries a three-year sentence behind bars if Smollett is convicted, which means the 36-year-old could potentially spend decades in jail. Smollett is set to be arraigned on March 14, 2019.
Jussie told police two white men yelling homophobic and racist slurs assaulted him as he made on his way home from a sandwich shop in the middle of the night, but law enforcement officials claim the star paid two Nigerian brothers he knew from his work on the Empire set $3,500 to attack him – allegations the actor has strenuously denied.