A grand jury indicted “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts for allegedly faking a hate crime against himself and reporting it to police in Chicago, according to reports.
The Cook County state attorney’s office confirmed the indictments to ABC 7 on Friday.
Smollett, 36, was arrested two weeks earlier and charged with a felony of disorderly conduct for falsely reporting to police that he was a victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
The actor first reported the attack to the Chicago Police Department in January. At the time, Smollett claimed that two men yelled “racial and homophobic slurs” at him before physically attacking him. He also said that the men “poured an unknown chemical substance on him” and that one man wrapped a rope around his neck.
As police and the FBI launched an investigation into Smollett’s attack, the focus shifted to the actor. In late February, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson accused Smollett of lying about the attack because he was “dissatisfied with his salary” on “Empire.”
Police also accused Smollett of sending himself a letter filled with homophobic and racial slurs, then paying two brothers $3,500 to stage an attack.
After the initial felony charge, the actor’s lawyers maintained that Smollett was an innocent victim. They also accused police of carrying out an “organized law enforcement spectacle” against Smollett.
This article has been updated with more details about the police report.