Pitchfork is reporting that Jussie Smollett has been indicted by a grand jury on 16 felony counts for filing false police reports that he was a victim of a hate crime attack back in January.
According to the media house, the actor faces are Class 4 felonies, and his arraignment is scheduled for March 14.
In a statement to Pitchfork, Smollett’s attorney Mark Geragos said:
“The fact of an indictment was not unexpected. We knew that there is no way they would expose their evidence to a public airing and subject their witnesses to cross-examination. What is unexpected, however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts against Jussie. 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.”
This sad drama began on January 29, after it was reported that Smollett had been attacked in Chicago by two men in what appeared to be a hate crime. But the following month, two Nigerian brothers were arrested and questioned by police in connection with the alleged attack. Smollett was categorised as a suspect in the case after the men were released from police custody without criminal charges on February 15. Later that month, Smollett was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
The grand jury has now returned the disorderly conduct charges and expanded the charges against Smollet, indicting him on 16 felonies. And the indictment states: “Jussie Smollett knew that at the time… there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed.”
We can’t wait to see how this pans out.