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.
Who the hell they think he kidnapped, Chelsea Clinton? https://t.co/29GtKlhUMB— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) March 8, 2019
Jussie Smollett is going to get more prison time than Paul Manafort pic.twitter.com/d4zIt0fF7J— Amber 💋 (@BBTrashStan) March 8, 2019
Trying to figure out how Jussie Smollett is charged with 16 counts of crimes when actual attackers wouldn’t have been charged with that much (and haven’t been when Black folks end up dead).https://t.co/77yfkfComP— jarrett hill (@JarrettHill) March 8, 2019
If Jussie were a white Virginia governor he would have gotten away with this— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) March 8, 2019
The Chicago PD’s only goal was to make Jussie Smollett out to be a lair in a matter of days. They never intented on solving this case at all. https://t.co/ITxiWA3USl— 𝐵𝑒𝒸𝒸𝒶 (@MJFINESSELOVER) March 8, 2019
My heart breaks for #JussieSmollet & the trouble he brought on himself. Praying that he will allow the LORD to save, befriend, & deliver him.— Hart Ramsey (@hartramsey) February 23, 2019
The lesson learned by many is that we should reserve commentary & judgment until the facts are revealed. The Truth always prevails.
Sixteen???? I’ve seen people lie, steal, and kill and don’t get that many charges!! #JussieSmollet— I wasn’t finished speaking (@ShowMeTheFacts_) March 8, 2019
I don’t condone the bs #JussieSmollet did but it’s funny how he’s being indicted but none of these white people have for false allegations or rape claims that destroyed young black lives.. we just want the same across the board— Mimi ni Mungu(Swahil (@MimiMungu) March 8, 2019