A special prosecutor has charged Jussie Smollett with additional criminal charges for allegedly faking a hate crime in Chicago.
These charges come as Smollett is suing the city of Chicago for causing “humiliation and extreme distress,” according to a filing by his lawyer Tina Glandian.
On January 29, 2019, the former Empire star claimed he was attacked by two men. In the weeks that followed, elements of his story were questioned and he was eventually charged with setting up the incident himself. According to the Chicago Tribune, those charges were dismissed by the Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who also sealed the courts records on the case. Still, Dan Webb, a special prosecutor, has opted to reopen the matter.
Webb released a statement explaining why he chose to further prosecute Smollett. He declared that “further prosecution of Jussie Smollett is the interest of justice.” The statement also said that “several factors went into this determination, 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.”
On Tuesday, Smollett was indicted on six counts of disorderly conduct by a grand jury in Cook County. He’s due back in court on February 24.
Smollett’s lawyer Tina Glandian released a statement after news of the 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. And 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.”
Glandian continued: “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. 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.”
The pair of brothers, who were initially named as persons of interest in the case and later claimed that Smollett had staged the incident, have released their own statement in response to the new charges being filed.
“The Osundairo brothers are aware of the new charges brought against Jussie Smollett today by the grand jury,” read a statement from their attorney. “As stated before, they are fully committed to the public knowing the truth about what occurred on January 29, 2019.”
The statement added that the incident should now be seen as a hoax and PR stunt gone wrong. “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,” it continued.
Smollett, who played Jamal Lyon on Empire, has been absent from the show since the scandal broke.