Jussie Smollett indicted in Chicago on multiple counts in relation to 2019 hoax attack
Actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted on several counts, stemming from him falsely claiming to be the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. He was previously charged over the hoax, only to see the charges dropped.
The charges against the former 'Empire' star were filed by special prosecutor Dan Webb and confirmed by the Cook County Clerk’s Office on Tuesday. Smollett was indicted on six counts, including disorderly conduct, all related to lying to law enforcement or filing false police reports.
"A Cook County grand jury returned a six-count indictment charging Jussie Smollett with 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," the prosecutor's office said in a statement Tuesday.
The office said it decided to indict Smollett all over again after concluding state prosecutors failed to prove that the decision to throw out charges against him in the first place was in line with general practice.
JUST IN: Special prosecutor Dan Webb says Kim Foxx’s office hasn’t been able to provide any evidence that the #JussieSmollett prosecution was handled the same way as similar cases. pic.twitter.com/MfOJReglkT— Jason Meisner (@jmetr22b) February 11, 2020
The disgraced entertainer was charged on 16 criminal counts last February after he was accused of staging a hate crime on himself outside of his apartment building in Chicago. He had claimed that two men in ski masks assaulted him, tying a noose around his neck as they hurled racial and homophobic slurs. While the charges were abruptly dropped one month later, a special prosecutor was appointed in August to continue looking into the case.
Smollett is scheduled to appear in court on February 24.Also on rt.com ‘Humiliation and extreme distress’: Jussie Smollett sues Chicago after faking hate crime
The decision to drop the charges stoked outrage nationwide, prompting a series of protests and demands for resignation of State Attorney Kim Foxx, while then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel personally sent Smollett a bill for the $130,000-plus spent on the investigation into the alleged attack. The actor never paid up, forcing the city to sue to collect the funds. Smollett then countered with a lawsuit of his own, alleging he was subjected to “humiliation and extreme distress” in the aftermath of the supposed attack.
Foxx – who is running for reelection in March with the endorsement of Democrat presidential contender Elizabeth Warren – slammed the fresh indictments, arguing they had “questionable” and “James Comey-like” timing only a few weeks out from the upcoming election.
State’s Attorney Kim Foxx releases her statement on Dan Webb bringing charges in Jussie Smollett case. Called timing “James Comey-like” pic.twitter.com/e50VSYkNpd— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 11, 2020
The news was met with mixed reactions. Though many on social media were jubilant that the actor might soon face consequences for basically staging a hate crime, some questioned the prosecutor’s priorities in pursuing the case over others.
glad Jussie Smollett is finally being held accountable for his fake hate crime attack. It’s frustrating & sad He set the lgbt community far back. It’s hard enough for people to come forward about real things as is— 🏳️🌈TopTier_Weetabix (@clusterfuktoast) February 11, 2020
Bc they were hoping to punt it to federal prosecutors so any fall out would be on THEM, not Chicago.— Aubrey Thompson (@ItsMeAubreyT) February 11, 2020
The fact that Illinois prosecutors continued to pursue charges against Jussie Smollett by convening this grand jury speaks to their priorities—ie, to ensure he suffers. I do wish they had this same energy for others accused of lying to police. https://t.co/Dzfv5vcTXs— Adrienne Lawrence (@AdrienneLaw) February 11, 2020
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