Former Empire star Jussie Smollett was indicted today in a Chicago court on six counts of disorderly conduct relating to his role in allegedly faking a hate crime in January of last year.
Jussie Smollett’s showdown with the Chicago court system came unexpectedly back to life this morning after he was indicted on six felony counts of disorderly conduct for lying to the police about an allegedly fabricated hate crime. The news comes after Smollett’s case was unexpectedly thrown out in March 2019, a decision criticized by many police officers and Chicagoans who felt that the police overtime and taxpayer money wasted investigating Smollett’s fraudulent claims constituted theft.
Dan K. Webb, special prosecutor for Cook County, issued a statement following the charges. The statement reveals that Jussie Smollett made “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.”
The statement also criticizes the Cook County State Attorney for failing to justify their earlier decision to drop the case. “Another major factor in the OSP’s determination that further prosecution of Mr. Smollett is in the interests of justice is that the CCSAO has been unable to provide the OSP with documentary evidence that shows that, in dismissing the Smollett case…the CCSAO relied on other dispositions of similar cases prior to the Smollett case that would justify this disposition.” Basically, despite claiming that their decision to drop the case was unrelated to the fact that the defendant was a famous actor, CCSAO was unable to produce a court case of any similar crime with a similar outcome.
In January 2019, Smollett alleged that he had been attacked by two masked men shortly after 2 A.M. who had called him racial slurs, thrown a noose around his neck, and doused him with bleach. Inconsistencies in his story emerged in the following weeks, and the discovery that the “assailants” were also black cast doubt on the racially motivated nature of the crime. Police later discovered that the two attackers — Nigerian-American brothers who had previously worked on extras on the set of Empire and were known to work out with Smollett — had been wired $3,500 by Smollett himself for their role in staging the attack. The brothers, both bodybuilders, were released from custody without charges.
Jussie Smollett denied the charges made in court today, and previously told reporters: “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I was accused of.” His legal team maintains that Smollett “was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator” and intends to fight the decision in court. But with the overwhelming evidence against him, victory seems unlikely for the Smollett camp.
*All images courtesy of Instagram.