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Jussie Smollett indicted on 16 counts over alleged false police report

Press Trust of India  |  Los Angeles 

"Empire" star Jussie Smollett has been indicted by a grand jury on 16 counts of disorderly conduct.

The charges stem from a January 29 incident where Smollett, 36, had claimed that he was attacked by two men while leaving a restaurant in Chicago.

The actor, who is openly gay, alleged that the suspects, one of whom was wearing a red Make America Great Again hat, shouted racial and homophobic slurs before they attacked him.

After an investigation, the authorities said Smollett falsely reported to the police that he had been attacked by two men.

The actor was previously charged in a criminal complaint with felony disorderly conduct, involving lying to police. The crime carries a felony charge, and if Smollett is found guilty he could face up to three years in prison and up to USD 25,000 in fines.

According to Variety, a Cook County grand jury returned a more thorough indictment on Friday.

Eight of the charges involve false statements given to Officer Muhammed Baig, while the other eight pertain to a more detailed account given to Detective Kim Murray.

"Jussie Smollett knew that at the time... there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed," stated the indictment.

Police believes that Smollett had paid the two suspect, Ola and Abel Osundairo, USD 3,500 to stage the attack.

Smollett's potential role in the alleged attack emerged after reports stated that he was not cooperating with the police.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 09 2019. 10:50 IST