Jussie Smollett indicted on 16 felony counts by grand jury

Jussie Smollett indicted on 16 felony counts by grand jury

Jussie Smollett indicted on 16 felony counts by grand jury

Smollett has been charged with 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct in connection with falsely filing a police report.

Geragos said in a statement he did not expect a Cook County grand jury would charge Smollet with 16 separate counts.He said the indictment is "prosecutorial overkill". Police say Smollett, who is black and gay, claimed two men hurled slurs and looped a rope around his neck on January 29, 2019, in downtown Chicago. Smollett could be facing probation or up to four years in prison for each individual charge. After turning himself in, a judge set Smollett's bond for $100,000 and he was released from jail. Johnson said Smollett paid the two brothers $3,500 to carry out the staged attack.

Chicago police investigated the case for three weeks, eventually identifying two brothers with ties to Smollett- one had worked his personal trainer, and both had been extras on episodes of "Empire"- as his "attackers".

Smollett received eight counts for what he told a police officer and eight more for what he told a detective.

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However, Chicago police allege that the attack was a hoax orchestrated by the actor as he was "dissatisfied with his salary" on Fox network drama Empire.

Mark Geragos, Jussie Smollett's attorney, on the media's coverage of Smollett and on his client being indicted on 16 felony counts: "What is happening here is, frankly, a media gang bang of this guy of unprecedented proportions". The grand jury also reportedly accused Smollett of falsifying a crime.

Smollett is scheduled to be arraigned on March 14, however, ABC 7 reported that experts believe it is likely he will strike a plea deal and potentially not spend time in prison. Smollett has denied playing a role in the attack. The actor, who is black and gay, said the masked men beat him, made derogatory comments and yelled, "This is MAGA country" - an apparent reference to President Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again" - before fleeing.

Meanwhile, Chicago police say they are conducting an internal investigation to determine the source of information leaked anonymously to media during the probe into Smollett's claims. They cause harm to legitimate victims who are in need of support by police and by investigators as well as the citizens in the city. "Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense".

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