According to a CNN report, “Empire” actor, Jussie Smollett who was arrested early this year for filing false reports of a crime, has just been indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct by a Cook County grand jury.
The 36-year-old actor’s attorney, in reaction to the judgement, said the actor stands by his claim to innocence and went ahead to term the indictment as a “prosecutorial overkill”. He said: “This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines.”
The actor will be out on bail pending a hearing on Thursday, 14 March.
The Smollett case started when the actor reported to the police in January that he had been attacked by two people in Chicago in what he claimed was a racist and homophobic related attack. The case was initially assessed as a hate crime till new evidence surfaced causing the actor to be under scrutiny.
After the police had detained two brothers who were the persons of interest, following investigations, sources revealed that the suspects had been paid $3500 by Smollett to stage the attack on him. The men were release without a charge and Smollett was charged in February with criminal disorderly conduct.
Smollett denies any involvement in staging the attack.
“Empire” TV show producers has removed Smollett’s character from the final two episodes of the show’s season. This decision was made to avoid further disruption on set.