Jussie Smollett has reportedly been indicted by a special prosecutor in Chicago over last year’s alleged hate hoax in which the Empire actor claimed he was beaten by two men in MAGA hats who yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him.
Jussie Smollett was indicted Tuesday in Chicago by special prosecutor Dan Webb, who said that “further prosecution of Jussie Smollett is ‘in the interest of justice’,” according to multiple published reports. The indictment against Smollett includes six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly making four separate false reports.
The Hollywood star is due back in court on February 24.
Smollett has maintained that he was assaulted in the early hours of January 29, 2019, claiming that his assailants poured bleach on him and put a rope around his neck. But in the following weeks, his claims unraveled in spectacular fashion as mounting evidence indicated that Smollett paid two Nigerian extras from Empire to stage the attack in a bid to advance his career.
Prosecutors have alleged that Smollett staged the attack because he was unhappy with his job on Empire. They alleged that Smollett was unhappy with the studio’s response to a threatening letter he received at work.
Despite the growing case against him, prosecutors mysteriously dropped all charges against Smollett in March. The decision angered police officials as well as Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who called it a “whitewash of justice.” As part of the deal, Smollett’s record was expunged of the 16 felony counts related to making a false report.
Some media reports noted that Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx had close ties with former First Lady Michelle Obama. Smollett campaigned for President Barack Obama and appeared with the first couple at public events.
Tina Tchen, who was Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, reportedly contacted Foxx regarding the Smollett case. Foxx eventually recused herself from the case following reports she was connected to the Empire actor’s family.
Following widespread public outcry, Chicago officials appointed Webb as special prosecutor on the case in August.
On Tuesday, special prosecutor Webb cited several factors including “the extensive nature of Mr. Smollett’s false police reports, and the resources expended by the Chicago Police Department to investigate these false reports,” according to the Chicago Tribune.