Actor Jussie Smollett indicted by grand jury on 16 felony counts

Charges filed against actor who orchestrated fake 'Make America Great Again' attack on himself.

Marcy Oster, JTA ,

Jussie Smollett arrested in Chicago
Jussie Smollett arrested in Chicago

Jussie Smollett was indicted by a grand jury in Chicago on 16 felony counts related to making a false police report in which the “Empire” actor said he was the victim of a hate attack last month.

The indictment by the Cook County grand jury against Smollett, Smollett, who is black, Jewish and gay, was opened on Friday. It comes about two weeks after prosecutors announced one felony count for making a false police report against Smollett. The 16 counts include what Smollett told a responding police officer and what he later told investigators.

Police believe Smollett paid two Nigerian brothers to stage the Jan. 29 attack in downtown Chicago. The brothers, one who appears in “Empire,” testified before the grand jury.

Smollett has denied involvement in the assault downtown Chicago in which he told police that two men “gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him” before attacking, pouring an “unknown chemical substance” on him and wrapping a rope around his neck. They said “This is MAGA country” as they fled, he also told police.

Smollett’s character on “Empire,” Jamal Lyon, reportedly has been written out of the final two episodes of the show’s current 5th season.

Smollett, who denies the allegations, was released on $100,000 bail from jail the day after he was charged on February 20. He is scheduled to appear in court next week.