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Jussie Smollett Indicted on 16 Additional Felony Counts of Disorderly Conduct

Jussie Smollett

The charges from a Chicago grand jury pertain to allegations that the actor made a false report of a hate crime.

Empire star Jussie Smollett has been indicted by a Chicago grand jury on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct.

The grand jury returned the indictments Thursday, the Cook County State's Attorney's office confirmed to Chicago TV station WLS today.

The gay actor had reported that he was the victim of a hate crime January 29 in downtown Chicago. He said two men attacked him, saying "This is MAGA country," a reference to Donald Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again." Smollett said they used racist and homophobic slurs, punched him, poured a liquid (possibly bleach) on him, and hung a noose around his neck. The Chicago police investigated, but they eventually declared the attack a hoax staged by Smollett and two associates - something he denies.

He is accused of filing a false police report, for which he was charged February 20 with one felony count of disorderly conduct. He has pleaded not guilty. The additional charges brought by the grand jury also arise from the allegedly false police report. They include one set of charges related to his first report to the police and another to his second interview with them, according to WLS. Each count carries a sentence ranging from probation to four years in prison.

The Chicago police contend Smollett staged the crime because he was dissatisfied with his salary on Empire, a musical drama filmed in Chicago. Smollett plays Jamal Lyon, the gay son of a hip-hop record mogul.

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