Jussie Smollett is now in even deeper legal water as an Illinois grand jury in Chicago has indicted the actor on 16 charges for falsely reporting a hate crime attack against him on January 29.
According to CBS-Chicago News, while on Feb. 20, Smollett was charged with one felony count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, this indictment expands the case against the actor focusing on allegedly false statements he made to two different Chicago Police officers. Each count covers a range of alleged acts that Smollett falsely described to the officers, which included being punched in the face, had bleach poured on him and he suffered a bruise on his face. He also accused the attackers of yelling, “this MAGA country n*gger” and putting a noose around his neck.
“Jussie Smollett knew that at the time … there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed,” according to the indictment.
Each of the 16 charges carries with it a possible sentence of probation to four years in prison.
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.
Last month Smollett was arrested and charged on a felony charge of disorderly conduct after CPD claimed he hired two acquaintances – brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo – to help him stage the assault.
The actor and singer is currently out on $100,000 bond and is due back in court March 14 on a felony charge of disorderly conduct. In addition, he has also been suspended from Empire.
Smollett still maintains that he is innocent.
Meanwhile, his lawyer has yet to make a public statement about this recent indictment.
Black Twitter had a lot to say about this news, including calling out the hypocrisy that Paul Manafort, one of President Trump’s former cronies who committed treason, will serve less time than Jussie if he doesn’t plead out.