A grand jury indicted Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for falsely reporting that he was assaulted by two men who, he claimed, targeted the Empire actor because he is black and gay. The two men later told police that Smollett paid them to stage the attack as a publicity stunt that Smollett hoped would land him a raise. Smollett will be arraigned on Tuesday. From the Chicago Sun Times:
The indictment, which was made public on Friday, cites Smollett with disorderly conduct for each crime he said he had suffered, with separate counts related to statements he made the night of Jan. 29 to a police officer, and then for repeating the same account to a detective the same night. The charges all are Class 4 felonies, the lowest category of felony offense under Illinois law...
In a statement, Smollett’s attorney Mark Geragos said while the indictment is “not unexpected…What is unexpected however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts.”
“This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines in order to distract from the internal investigation launched to investigate the outrageous leaking of false information by the Chicago Police Department and the shameless and illegal invasion of Jussie’s privacy in tampering with his medical records. Jussie adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption.”
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