“Empire” star Jussie Smollett has been charged with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct-false report.
CWBChicago reports that the grand jury’s 16-count true bill stated that Smollett lied to two police officers about the incident.
In one set of charges, the grand jury stated that Smollett filed a false police report at 2 a.m. on January 29, saying that he was attacked by two men who used racial and homophobic slurs while hitting him the face. He also noted that a noose was placed around his neck and a chemical was poured on him.
In the second set of charges, Smollett allegedly falsely reported the incident to another detective that same day. In the second interview, he claimed that the men approached him from behind, kicking him, but that he fought back. He also claimed that one of the attackers’ skin was white.
Each charge could carry a potential sentence of probation to three years if convicted.
Smollett is due in court next week.
Last week, two men involved in the scandal are apologizing for their actions. A lawyer for Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo spoke on their behalf, telling CNN, “My clients have tremendous regret over their involvement in this situation, and they understand how it has impacted people across the nation, particularly minority communities and especially those who have been victims of hate crimes themselves.”
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson recently appeared on “Good Morning America” to discuss the case. After slamming Smollett in February, he said, “Let me tell, you, Robin, there’s a lot more evidence that hasn’t been presented yet, and does not support the version he gave. There’s still a lot of physical evidence, video evidence, and testimony that just simply does not support his version of what happened.”
Smollett's legal team recently came to his defense, saying, "Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing. Today, we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system. The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a mayoral election.”