Jussie Smollett was indicted Tuesday in Chicago by a special prosecutor relating to an alleged hate crime hoax a year ago, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Smollett was indicted by special prosecutor Dan Webb, a former U.S. Attorney, appointed in August of last year by a Chicago judge to investigate the Smollett case debacle. The disgraced actor is due back in court Feb. 24.
Smollett faces six felony counts of disorderly conduct. The new charges stem from four separate alleged false reports the actor gave police in which he claimed he was a victim of a hate crime, all the while “knowing that he was not the victim of a crime,” according to a Tuesday statement from Webb.
Smollett told Chicago police last year that he was jumped by two men in the early morning hours and they yelled racial and homophobic slurs at the actor during the assault.
Police concluded that the attack was staged, accusing the Empire actor of trying to boost his career with the egregious news of the assault. Smollett and his legal team have maintained he was attacked.
Smollett was then charged in the alleged hoax with 16 felony counts, but those charges were subsequently dropped by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office in a deal with the actor’s legal team, much to the ire of police and then-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The police and city brought a lawsuit against the actor to cover the man-hours they say were wasted on his false report.
On Tuesday evening, Smollett’s attorney Tina Glandian issued the following statement:
This indictment raises serious questions about the integrity of the investigation that led to the renewed charges against Mr. Smollett, not the least of which is the use of the same CPD detectives who were part of the original investigation into the attack on Mr. Smollett to conduct the current investigation, despite Mr. Smollett’s pending civil claims against the City of Chicago and CPD officers for malicious prosecution. And one of the two witnesses who testified before the grand jury is the very same detective Mr. Smollett is currently suing for his role in the initial prosecution of him.
After more than five months of investigation, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has not found any evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever related to the dismissal of the charges against Mr. Smollett. Rather, the charges were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence. The attempt to re-prosecute Mr. Smollett one year later on the eve of the Cook County State’s Attorney election is clearly all about politics not justice.
Feb. 11, 5:45 p.m. Updated with statement from Smollett’s attorney.