Jussie Smollett faces new charges in Chicago.
On Tuesday, February 11, a grand jury returned a six-count indictment finding the former Empire actor guilty of lying to Chicago police about an alleged racist and homophobic attack on him in January of 2019, according to ABC News.
Special prosecutor, Dan Webb, announced the reopening of the case in a statement: “Jussie planned and participated in a staged hate crime attack, and thereafter made numerous false statements to Chicago PD.” Webb added that Smollett’s new charges, which were reduced from 16 to six, were re-filed “in the interest of justice.”
Webb also voiced disapproval of State Attorney Kim Foxx groundlessly dismissing the case. He said her office had no additional evidence from what the Grand Jury had when Smollett was indicted.
Last January, Smollett made the claim he was assaulted by two men wearing ski masks during a late night walk to Subway, after arriving in Chicago from New York. He said someone yelled: “Aren’t you that f**got ‘Empire’ n**ga?” He said the two attackers, later identified as the Osundairo brothers, then jumped him, put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him and shouted, “this is MAGA country!”
Smollett, 37, was later accused of giving the false report for attention and monetary gain. After he was charged with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct, the actor was later cleared of the charges last March.
The infamous decision to dismiss the case without sufficient explanation angered many law enforcement officials. In August, Cook County Judge, Michael Toomin, appointed former U.S. attorney, Dan Webb, as a special prosecutor to investigate why the charges were dropped, according to ABC News.
Smollett, who continues to maintain his innocence and is expected to plea not-guilty, expressed speculation at the timing of this: Kim Foxx is up for re-election as Cook county’s State Attorney next month.
The former Empire actor will be arraigned on February 24th, and faces up to three years in state prison if convicted.