Jussie Smollett has been indicted again over last year’s alleged hoax racist and homophobic attack.
He is facing new felony charges in Chicago after a grand jury in Cook County, Illinois, indicted him, a special prosecutor in Chicago announced on Tuesday.
Smollett, who starred as Jamal on Fox’s hit show Empire, has been indicted on six-counts for allegedly making false reports to law enforcement officers, CNN is reporting
According to special prosecutor Dan K. Webb, Smollett staged a hate crime attack against himself and made false statements to law enforcement officers. He said in a statement:
“Based on the recommendation of the OSP (Office of the Special Prosecutor), a Cook County grand jury returned a six-count indictment charging Jussie Smollett with making four separate false reports to Chicago Police Department officers related to his false claims that he was the victim of a hate crime, knowing that he was not the victim of a crime.”
New indictment reopens Jussie Smollett’s alleged ‘fake attack’ case
The latest indictment on six felony counts comes after Cook County prosecutors dropped all original 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct against Smollett in March 2019.
Smollett, who is a gay African American, was charged with 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct for allegedly staging a fake racist and homophobic attack.
Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx announced in March that they had dropped all the charges after police investigations. The prosecutor said that although Smollett was not exonerated, they believed that the decision to drop the charges was just and appropriate.
However, Chicago law enforcement opposed the decision to drop the charges, and in August Webb was appointed as a special prosecutor to investigate the handling of the case and look at the possibility of renewing the charges.
Webb criticized the State Attorney for dismissing the case against Smollett, saying that it made no sense. Smollett’s attorney had argued that bringing another indictment against their client exposed him to double jeopardy, but the court rejected the argument.
Webb then announced on Tuesday that he had completed his investigations and decided to bring new charges against Smollett.
The latest indictment reopens the controversial case against the actor, and according to The Guardian, he is due in court on February 24.
Smollett alleged back in January 2019 that two hooded men attacked him near his residence in Chicago and shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him. Police later claimed that Smollett staged the hate crime with the help of the Osundairo brothers, Olabinjo and Abimbola.
The controversy surrounding the case led to Fox firing Smollett from his starring role on Empire.
Smollett’s attorneys question the timing of the new indictment
Smollett’s attorney Tina Glandian has raised questions about the timing of the new indictment, alleging that it is “about politics not justice,” according to NBC Chicago.
Glandian argued that with Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx up for re-election next month, the indictment happening now suggests politicization of the case.
Foxx’s campaign also made the allegation, describing the timing of the indictment as “James Comey-like.”