CHICAGO (AP) – A grand jury in Chicago indicted “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs.
The Cook County grand jury indictment filed Thursday says he made a false report about an offense.
The Cook County State’s Attorney charged Smollett on Feb. 20 with one count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.
Smollett told police in late January that he was physically attacked by two men in downtown Chicago while out getting food from a Subway restaurant at 2 a.m. The actor said the men shouted at him, wrapped a rope around his neck and poured an “unknown substance” on him. Police said Smollett, who is black and gay, told detectives the attackers also yelled he was in “MAGA country,” an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan that some Trump critics have decried as racist and discriminatory.
After an investigation, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett recruited two men to stage the attack because he was upset with his pay on the Fox show. Smollett has denied playing a role in the attack.