Former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett has been indicted by a grand jury for allegedly lying to Chicago police about a racist and homophobic attack against him that authorities said he staged himself, a special prosecutor assigned to the case announced Tuesday.
The 37-year-old actor is charged with six counts of disorderly conduct that accuse him of lying to police about the January 2019 incident, in which Smollett claimed two masked men assaulted him with the noose and a chemical liquid while yelling homophobic slurs and “this is MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s “make America great again” campaign slogan.
But two brothers affiliated with the actor eventually told authorities they were paid by him to stage the attack, and Smollett was charged a month later with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for making a false report.
Over the objections of the department, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped all charges in March. But special prosecutor Dan Webb issued a statement Tuesday that Smollett had again been indicted.
Smollett “planned and participated in a staged crime attack,” and then “made numerous false statements … reporting a heinous hate crime that he, in fact, knew had not occurred,” according to a police department news release.