Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 June 2019

Empire actor Jussie Smollett indicted by Chicago grand jury

Chicago police claim Mr Smollett made a false report of a homophobic and racist attack

Empire actor Jussie Smollett leaves Cook County jail following his release. AP
Empire actor Jussie Smollett leaves Cook County jail following his release. AP

A grand jury in Chicago has indicted Empire actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men in Chicago who shouted racial and homophobic slurs.

The Cook County grand jury indictment filed Thursday charges him with falsely reporting an offence.

Mr Smollett was charged on February 20 with one count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.

Mr Smollett, who is black and gay, told police in late January that he was attacked by two men in downtown Chicago who wrapped a rope around his neck.

Police say Mr Smollett recruited two men to stage the attack because he was upset with his pay on the Fox show. Mr Smollett has denied playing a role in the attack.

The 16-county grand jury indictment includes eight counts for what he told a police officer and eight more for what he told a detective.

In the indictment filed Thursday, the Cook County grand jury makes it clear that Smollett added details to his account of what happened on January 29 when he talked to the detective.

It says he gave a basic version to the police officer that included allegations that he was beaten by two masked men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him. The indictment says that when he talked to the detective, Smollett said he could see from the skin around one of the attacker's eyes through the mask that he was white. He also said that the attackers looped a rope around his neck.

Updated: March 9, 2019 05:16 AM

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