A grand jury in Chicago indicted actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts. They filed the indictment on Thursday (7 March) and revealed it today.
The indictment states Smollett filed a false report and charged him with disorderly conduct.
According to CBS Chicago, the Cook County grand jury’s indictment stated: ‘Jussie Smollett knew that at the time […] there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed.’
Each of the counts covers various alleged false statements Smollett made to police officers. This includes alleged acts Smollett reportedly falsely described to officers, including two men attacking him and pouring a chemical on him.
Smollett was first charged with one count of disorderly conduct in February.
This story began in late January when Smollett reported to Chicago police two men attacked him. The investigation took a turn when police arrested two brothers. The brothers claimed Smollett paid them to help him stage the attack.
Smollett continues to maintain his innocence as a victim and his attorneys said they would be mounting an ‘aggressive defense’.
Other updates in the case
The two brothers allegedly paid by Smollett, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, said they have ‘tremendous regret’ for their role in this.
Evidence obtained by ABC News reportedly offers a different explanation for Smollett’s connection to the brothers. A check worth $3,500 apparently written by Smollett for the brothers and dated six days before the alleged attack, read: ‘5 week Nutrition/Workout program (Don’t Go)’.
According to this check and sources, Smollett was working with the brothers on a work-out and nutrition program to prepare for an upcoming music video titled Don’t Go.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told Robin Roberts on Good Morning America ‘there’s a lot more evidence that hasn’t been presented yet’.
‘He has the presumption of innocence and he’ll get his opportunity in court if he chooses to go that route,’ Johnson continued. ‘I was very acutely aware of the situation in terms of the Chicago Police Department declaring he was a suspect.’
One person committed to the presumption of innocence is Queen Latifah.
She told Yahoo News: ‘Until somebody can show me some proof otherwise, I’m going with him.’
Smollett’s arraignment is scheduled for 14 March.