Jussie Smollett is now facing 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for falsely reporting a homophobic, hate crime attack. According to CBS News, on Friday, March 8, a Chicago grand jury granted the indictment, further increasing the Empire star’s legal woes.
It has been reported that the vast majority of the counts are considered felonious and “the most serious of which carry a maximum sentence of two-to-five years,” according to the network. The indictment charges that Jussie Smollett was well aware that there were no justifiable grounds for the offenses that he alleged. As previously reported, Jussie claimed to have been confronted by two unidentified assailants, one of which wore a red “Make America Great Hat.” The actor/singer also claimed the two men spewed homophobic and racist slurs as they attacked and beat him.
However, the allegations don’t stop there. The grand jury has reportedly expanded the case highlighting a number of other offenses as a result of Jussie Smollett’s actions. The number of felony counts stem from the false claims Jussie provided to the Chicago Police Department. The indictment reportedly notes that “each count covers various alleged acts that Smollett falsely described to the officers – including that he was hit by two men, that they yelled racial and homophobic slurs and poured a chemical on him,” reports the publication.
“Jussie Smollett knew that at the time … there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed,” according to the indictment.
The latest news follows a string of reports about Jussie Smollett’s attack. Initially, fans rallied behind Smollett as reports surfaced about the disheartening attack he’d suffered. After being released from a Chicago-area hospital, Jussie appeared on Good Morning America to share his story.
View this post on Instagram
At our peak in the 1930s we had 121 HBCUs, now we’re down to 101. Don’t let us be down to 100 if Bennett College, an institution who has made the education of black women a priority since 1926, closes its doors. We must continue the legacy of #BennettCollege Please Click or share @bennett_college and Donate today using the link in their bio and share using #standwithbennett love and respect ✊???????????? #HBCU
During an interview with Robin Roberts, Jussie shared his reaction to the attack and all of the speculation surrounding the attack.
“I’m pissed off. It’s like, you know, at first, it was a thing of, like, ‘Listen, if I tell the truth then that’s it,’ ’cause it’s the truth,” Smollett told Good Morning America, according to Essence magazine. “Then it became a thing of like, ‘Oh, how can you doubt that? Like, how do you — how do you not believe that? It’s the truth.'”
However, things changed drastically as details about the attack surfaced. Several days after a number of reports had been released, the Chicago Police Department accused Jussie Smollett of orchestrating his own attack.
Jussie Smollett has an arraignment scheduled for March 14.