Actor Jussie Smollett was indicted on Tuesday in connection with the findings of a special prosecutor who was appointed to reopen a 2019 case, where Smollett claimed he was the subject of a racist, homophobic attack.
The former Empire actor was indicted on on six counts, among them disorderly conduct, according to WGN. A warrant has not been issued for his arrest, but he is scheduled to appear in court on February 24.
On January 29, 2019, Smollett made headlines after he told police he was attacked, harassed and physically beaten by two assailants who were wearing red MAGA hats, the slogan of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. He also said the men looped a noose around his neck and hurled homophobic insults towards him. The incident garnered a lot of support for Smollett on social media, especially because of the political climate which has indeed inspired a series of targeted attacks against underserved communities.
However, the story made a series of confusing twists and turns eventually leading to the arrest of two Black men who claimed Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the attack in order to gain public sympathy and to help him obtain a salary jump on the hit Fox show.
Smollett was later arrested after Chicago law enforcement claimed the actor had made a false report and was charged with 16 felony counts, including filing a false police report, but all charges against him were eventually dropped by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Smollett’s cast on Empire voiced their support and stand by him to this day, but show executives decided to write Smollett out of the last season of the show, ending his four year-run as one of the show’s leads.
However, city officials made public statements calling for Smollett to be brought to justice, including former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former CPD Police Chief Eddie Johnson, who was terminated from his post last year in a wave on controversy.
The case is being handled by special prosecutor Dan Webb, who was petitioned to look into Smollett’s allegations by a state appellate judge after the case was dropped.