BREAKING NEWS: Grand Jury Indicts Jussie Smollett on 16 Counts of Disorderly Conduct

Jussie Smollet leaves court
Photo credit Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA

It's official: Entertainer Jussie Smollett has been indicted by a grand jury on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct after claiming to have been victim of a hate crime on January 29, 2019. 

Smollett has already been charged with one count of disorderly conduct after police say he allegedly staged the attack. The new counts are focused on statements made to Chicago Police officers about being attacked by two men who beat him, put a noose around his neck, poured a chemical substance on him, and yelled homophobic and racist slurs at him (he is an openly gay black man). After an investigation from the Chicago Police Department, those statements from Smollett are now alleged to be false. It is a Class 4 felony to file a "false report of offense." 

Smollett told police that the two men were white and wore masks, although Chicago Police says they have evidence that the two men were Nigerian brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo, and that Smollett paid the two men $3,500 -- with a paper check that is said to be in the hands of police -- to stage an attack on him. CBS Chicago also reports that Smollett also "directed the brothers to buy the noose at a hardware store and the hat and masks at a store," and there is footage of the brothers in a store, allegedly purchasing the items.

According to CBS Chicago, "Police said the two brothers wore gloves during the staged attack, and did punch Smollett, but the scratches and bruises on Smollett’s face most likely were self-inflicted."

Each of the 16 counts carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison. If he is convicted on all charges, Smollett could be facing 64 years behind bars. 

You can read the official grand jury indictment here.