Empire actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted on 16 counts of filing a false police report following his alleged staged attack on Jan. 29, Chicago’s local CBS affiliate reports. Smollett had previously been charged with a single count of filing a false police report, which alone has the possibility of a three year prison sentence.
Smollett is scheduled to be arraigned in court on March 14. Filing a false report is a class 4 felony. Smollett was indicted on 16 counts because the jury counted each part of the story — that two men hit him, that they yelled racial and homophobic slurs and poured chemicals on him — separately.
“[The grand jury] decided he told multiple lies,” legal analyst Irv Miller told CBS. “They were going to charge him for each.” He added, “If you have a crime, and that crime has multiple parts to it, you charge all those separate parts.”
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Smollett originally alleged that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in the early hours of Jan. 29 near his Chicago home. He said the attackers yelled that this was “MAGA country.” He also said that the attackers poured bleach on him and put a rope around his neck. Police later claimed that Smollett paid two brothers $3,500 to carry out the attack.
Smollett turned himself in and was later released on $100,000 bail. He was also forced to surrender his passport. Empire later announced that they were cutting Smollett from the final two episodes of the show’s fifth season.