Jussie Smollett, an actor who previously appeared on the TV show Empire, was indicted in Chicago Tuesday in relation to police allegations that he falsely reported experiencing a racist and homophobic attack, media reports say.
Smollett’s indictment, which was confirmed to ABC News by the Cook County Clerk’s Office, was first reported by a Fox News affiliate.
A statement released Tuesday by special prosecutor Dan Webb said that Smollett was indicted by a grand jury on six counts related to four separate false reports to the Chicago Police Department, according to ABC News.
Smollett, who is Black and gay, alleged the the Jan. 19, 2019 attack involved two masked men who made racist and homophobic insults about him, then later beat him and wrapped a noose around his neck.
He said that one of the attackers told him he was in “MAGA country”, a reference to U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Chicago prosecutors later insisted the attack was staged and charged him with making a false claim, alleging that the 37-year-old had faked the attack to gain attention in order to advance his career.
Prosecutors mysteriously dropped their case against him in March 2019, angering both police officials and then-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Smollett would agree to let authorities keep his US$10,000 bail.
Webb, who is a former U.S. attorney, was appointed by a Cook County judge in August to look into why Smollet’s charges were dropped.
According to Webb, the grand jury’s investigation into Smollett’s claims revealed he had “planned and participated in a staged hate-crime attack.”
— with files from Global News’ Katie Scott and The Associated Press
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