Empire actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted by a special prosecutor in Illinois on six counts of lying to police.
Last year, Smollett said he was the subject of a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago. He claimed he was punched in the face by two masked attackers, had an “unknown chemical substance” poured on him and a rope wrapped around his neck. He also said his attackers made reference to MAGA, the Make America Great Again slogan used by Trump supporters.
However, following investigations, authorities accused him of staging the attack on himself for publicity. Police claimed Smollett paid two Black brothers to carry out the attack “to promote his career” because he was “dissatisfied with his salary”.
Smollett denied the accusations and after an emergency court appearance in March 2019, all charges against him were dropped.
Yet Chicago Police and the city’s mayor stood by their case against Smollett – and accused the courts of letting him “off scot-free”.
Smollett now faces six counts of disorderly conduct, special prosecutor Dan Webb said in a statement.
Mr. Webb, the special prosecutor assigned in August to investigate how local prosecutors handled the case, said in a statement he was going to further prosecute Smollett.
The actor had now been charged with “making four separate false reports to Chicago Police Department officers related to his false claims that he was the victim of a hate crime, knowing that he was not the victim of a crime,” Mr. Webb said.
He is due in court on 24 February.
The city has also sued the actor in a civil suit, seeking payment of more than $130,000 for overtime paid to officers involved in investigating his claims. Smollett has filed a countersuit.