Jussie Smollett Indicted on 16 Felony Counts of Disorderly Conduct

A Cook County grand jury Friday indicted Empire actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct, according to CNN.

What was originally reported as an attack by two men against Smollett in January has allegedly turned out to be a hoax, according to police, as the two men in question revealed their part in the ruse.

Last month Smollett, 36, was charged with disorderly conduct and eventually released after he paid a $10,000 bond on the $100,000 bail set by a Chicago judge.

"Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked," Smollett's attorneys said at the time, according to CNN. "Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense."

According to initial reports of the incident, two men attacked Smollett while yelling racial and homophobic slurs. The two men were said at the time to have assaulted Smollett, poured something on him, put a noose around his neck and then left the scene.

Smollett's reported version of events angered many who read them, but there were also those skeptical that an actual attack had occurred. Smollett went on ABC's Good Morning America to try and validate his claims of an attack.

"I could only go off their words. I mean, who says 'faggot Empire n*****,' 'This is MAGA country, n*****,' ties a noose around your neck, and pours bleach on you? And this is just a friendly fight?" Smollett said on the program. "It's unbelievable to me that any of this has come to this. That every single thing that I have done, every single thing that I have cooperated with, somehow has gotten twisted into being some bull that it's not."

The two alleged attackers, later identified as brothers Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo, confessed they had been paid $3,500 by Smollett, and the Chicago police made their case against the Empire actor. Even after Smollett's arrest, many still defended him. CNN's Van Jones compared the actor to baseball's iconic Jackie Robinson.

"This is the fall of an icon and I don't think people understand how important he has been in the black community," Jones said. "Empire as a show, to have him as a beloved character, I think did a great deal to knock back homophobia in the black community. The fact that he has been celebrated and you see homophobia in the black community through his eyes on the show, this is a Jackie Robinson against homophobia."

Actress and rapper Queen Latifah said this week she believed Smollett was still innocent until proven guilty.

"Until somebody can show me some proof otherwise, I'm going with him. The guy I've seen has always been someone who cares about people, who cares about others, and who's very kind and who's always been cool and sweet," Latifah, 48, said. "That's just the guy I know. So until I can see some definitive proof—which I haven't seen yet. I gotta go with him until I see otherwise."