Jussie Smollett Indicted in Chicago Over Alleged Staged 2019 Attack

The former 'Empire' actor's indictment comes a year after he claimed that he was attacked.

ET has confirmed that special prosecutor Dan Webb indicted Jussie Smollett on Tuesday in connection with the alleged staged attack in Chicago in 2019.

Webb shared in a statement to ET that, based on the recommendation of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, a Cook County grand jury returned a six-count indictment charging Smollett with making four separate false reports to Chicago Police Department officers related to his claims that he was the victim of a hate crime.

"The indictment results from an investigation that began on Aug. 23, 2019, when Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Toomin appointed Mr. Webb as a special prosecutor. Judge Toomin directed Mr. Webb to conduct an independent investigation to determine the following: 1) should Jussie Smollett be further prosecuted for the alleged false reports he made to Chicago Police Department officers, and; 2) whether any person or office involved in the Smollett case engaged in wrongdoing, including the Cook County State's Attorney’s Office ('CCSAO') or individuals in that office," the statement continued. "Pursuant to the first part of Judge Toomin's mandate, in connection with whether to further prosecute Jussie Smollett, the grand jury's investigation revealed that Jussie Smollett planned and participated in a staged hate crime attack, and thereafter made numerous false statements to Chicago Police Department officers on multiple occasions, reporting a heinous hate crime that he, in fact, knew had not occurred.  Therefore, Mr. Webb has determined that reasonable grounds exist to further prosecute Mr. Smollett." 

The former Empire actor's attorney, Tina Glandian, released a statement to ET, questioning the new indictment. 

"This indictment raises serious questions about the integrity of the investigation that led to the renewed charges against Mr. Smollett, not the least of which is the use of the same CPD detectives who were part of the original investigation into the attack on Mr. Smollett to conduct the current investigation, despite Mr. Smollett's pending civil claims against the City of Chicago and CPD officers for malicious prosecution," the statement reads. "One of the two witnesses who testified before the grand jury is the very same detective Mr. Smollett is currently suing for his role in the initial prosecution of him."

"After more than five months of investigation, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has not found any evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever related to the dismissal of the charges against Mr. Smollett," the statement continues. "Rather, the charges were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence. The attempt to re-prosecute Mr. Smollett one year later on the eve of the Cook County State's Attorney election is clearly all about politics not justice."

Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, attorney for Abel and Ola Osundairo, who police said helped Smollett orchestrate the attack --  tells ET in a statement following: "The Osundairo brothers are aware of the new charges brought against Jussie Smollett today by the grand jury. As stated before, they are fully committed to the public knowing the truth about what occurred on January 29, 2019. The Osundairo brothers will continue to cooperate with that process and they thank the Special Prosecutor’s office for their tireless work in seeing that justice was administered."

Additionally, Kathy Fieweger, director of public affairs for the City of Chicago Department of Law, tells ET in a statement, "We look forward to reviewing the indictment and, as we have said previously, the City stands by our original complaint seeking to recover costs for Mr. Smollett’s false statements. We again thank the Chicago Police Department detectives for their hard work on this case the original investigation."

Smollett is due in court on Feb. 24.

On Jan. 29, 2019, news broke that Smollett had been the victim of an alleged racist and homophobic attack on the streets of Chicago outside his apartment. ET confirmed soon after the incident that Smollett had told police that he was approached by two men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, and at one point wrapped a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance -- believed to be bleach -- on him.

Friends, family and Hollywood colleagues came to his support as details continued to emerge. In the weeks to follow, after Smollett went on Good Morning America to recount the harrowing experience, it was revealed that the actor was a suspect in his own case. It was believed that he orchestrated the attack against himself and he was eventually charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report.

Chicago police said that Smollett paid the Osundairo brothers to stage the attack, because he was upset with his salary on the Fox show Empire. Smollett was indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct in March. However, weeks later, all charges filed against Smollett were dropped without a plea, after Smollett agreed to surrender his $10,000 bail and perform 16 hours of community service. Meanwhile, the FBI said it was still investigating the “circumstances around the case."

In November, the actor accused the Chicago police of malicious prosecution, claiming he was the victim of "mass public ridicule and harm" after he was charged with orchestrating a fake hate crime against himself.

Smollett’s claims came in a countersuit against the city, which is suing the actor to recover more than $130,000 that police say they spent on their investigation of Smollett’s claim.

For more on Smollett's case, watch below. 



Latest News