Former Empire actor Jussie Smollet was charged with 15 felony counts by a grand jury and is now facing up to 48 years in prison, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Smollett was originally charged with one felony count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office on Feb. 20. The grand jury applied another 15 counts in its 36-page indictment.
Smullet is now facing a maximum sentence of 48 years in prison up to $400,000 in fines.
He is expected to cut a plea deal with authorities, according to ABC News.
The grand jury returned two separate sets of charges, one for each lie Smollett allegedly told to two groups of police officers. The first regards to Smollett’s claim that he was attacked by men who made racial and homophobic slurs, struck him with their hands, put a noose around his neck, and poured a chemical substance on him.
The second set of charges relate to Smollett’s interview with police when he claimed the men attacked him from behind and he fell to the ground, at which point the men continued kicking him. Smollett also told police on this occasion that one of his attackers was white.
These are his attackers:
Two large black Nigerian men, whom he paid $3500 to stage the attack.
Smollet’s attorney said in response:
The fact of an indictment is not unexpected. We knew that there is no way they would expose their evidence to a public airing and subject their witnesses to cross-examination.
What is unexpected however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts against Jussie. This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines in order to distract from the internal investigation launched to investigate the outrageous leaking of false information by the Chicago Police Department and the shameless and illegal invasion of Jussie’s privacy in tampering with his medical records.
Jussie adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption.
No one robbed Smollet of anything.
It was Smollet who robbed the police of their time, and of taxpayers footing the bill for them to investigate a fake hate crime.
In essence, Smollet intentionally faked a crime targeted at white men. This is a crime, and a warning to other hoax creators– try this and you’ll end up in jail.