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Jussie Smollett has been indicted in Illinois for allegedly falsely claiming to be the victim of a now infamous hate crime attack that authorities claim was staged.
Cook County special prosecutor Dan K. Webb announced Tuesday that Smollett has been indicted on six counts of disorderly conduct for “making four separate false reports to Chicago Police Department officers related to his false claims that he was the victim of a hate crime, knowing that he was not the victim of a crime,” according to a press release from the special prosecutor’s office obtained by Oxygen.com.
The press release states that a “grand jury’s investigation revealed that Jussie Smollett planned and participated in a staged hate crime attack, and thereafter made numerous false statements to Chicago Police Department officers on multiple occasions, reporting a heinous hate crime that he, in fact, knew had not occurred.”
Smollett had reportedly told police on Jan. 29, 2019 that he was assaulted outside his apartment building by two men in ski masks. He had claimed that the mystery assailants lambasted him with racial and homophobic slurs before pouring an unknown liquid over him and wrapping a noose around his neck. He also claimed that they told him, “This is MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.”
Just weeks after he filed the police report, law enforcement claimed that Smollett had paid brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo to attack him in an effort to help his career.
The state attorney’s office charged Smollett in February with 16 counts of disorderly conduct but those charges were later dropped abruptly without public clarification, according to the Chicago Tribune. Smollett reportedly agreed to community service and his record was wiped clean, according to Fox32 in Chicago. That decision was not only criticized, but it fueled conspiracy theories, Buzzfeed reported.
Prosecutors from Webb's office began investigating the incident back in August. Webb said the new charges are “in the interest of justice.”
Smollett is due to be arraigned Feb. 24.
Webb noted that the actor, who is known for his roles in "The Mighty Ducks," "Alien: Covenant" and the series "Empire,” “is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Smollett's defense attorneys Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian did not immediately respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment.
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