Empire actor Jussie Smollett was indicted on Tuesday for six counts related to an alleged racist attack he reported last January, the Cook County Clerk’s Office confirmed Tuesday. Smollett is slated to appear in court on February 24.
According to WFLD, special prosecutor Dan Webb said Smollett was 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.”
The actor told authorities he was jumped in Chicago by two men wearing MAGA hats after he got Subway in the early hours of the morning. He claimed the suspects were white and used racial and homophobic slurs.
Smollett Allegedly Lied To Police To Boost His Career
After his initial report, Smollett, 37, was later accused of orchestrating the “attack.” He reportedly hired his attackers: two Nigerian brothers who trained Smollett and appeared as extras in Empire. Police claimed Smollett fabricated the event to advance his career and heighten his public persona because he was reportedly displeased with his salary on Empire. At the time, he was charged with 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police.
In March 2019, the charges against him were dropped as long as he did community service and surrendered his $10,000 bond payment.
There was a swift backlash following the dropped charges. Then-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called it “a whitewash of justice.” “Where is the accountability in the system?” Emanuel said. “You cannot have, because of a person’s position, one set of rules apply to them and another set of rules apply to everybody else.”
Smollett maintained he’s not guilty. “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I was being accused of,” he said last year. He thanked the state “for attempting to do what’s right.”
His Empire Co-Stars Missed Him on the Set
Smollett’s character, Jamal Lyon, was cut from Empire following the controversy. Terrence Howard, who played Jamal’s father Lucious Lyon on the series, told James Corden in September 2019 he missed Smollett’s presence on set.
“Out of nowhere, he’s snatched away from us,” Howard said. “He was the heart of our show and now it’s like our show is on a heart and lung bypass machine. The heart is gone, but we’re still hoping that there’s going to be a transplant and hoping somehow it’ll come back together.”
“We are all still trying to put the pieces together because my son is gone,” he added. “That was my little boy and he’s gone now, and they don’t mention him as if that’s OK. And it’s like, ‘no, that’s not cool.'”