Jussie Smollett Indicted by Special Prosecutor Over Allegedly Faked Racist, Anti-Gay Attack

Actor Jussie Smollett was indicted Tuesday in Chicago for six counts of disorderly conduct after a grand jury found him guilty of lying to law enforcement officers about being the victim of a hate crime in February 2019.

Smollett, former star of the Fox television program Empire, is accused of staging the attack which he claimed was both homophobic and race-biased in intent.

"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," said Special Prosecutor Dan Webb in a statement.

In a statement provided to Newsweek, Webb said "further prosecution of Jussie Smollett is 'in the interest of justice.'"

"In consideration of Mr. Smollett's right to a fair trial," the statement read, "the OSP [Office of the Special Prosecutor] will not comment further about the indictment or the OSP's continuing investigation."

Smollett originally told police he had been accosted by two people who struck him, placed a rope around his neck and poured what police referred to as an "unknown chemical substance" on him. Smollett also said his attackers mentioned President Donald Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again."

During a concert appearance in Hollywood in February 2019 after the alleged attack, Smollett told the crowd he "will always stand for love."

"Regardless of what anyone else says, I will only stand for love," Smollett continued. "And I hope that you all will stand with me."

Smollett also referred to himself as "the gay Tupac."

jussie smollett
Actor Jussie Smollett was indicted by a Chicago grand jury Tuesday for allegedly faking a hate crime against himself and reporting it to police. Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty

Investigators turned their focus to two men who had been extras on Empire, Ola and Abel Osundairo. While a search of their home turned up a red hat, bleach and a black face mask, the police did not charge the pair.

After the investigation shifted to Smollett himself, the actor turned himself in to authorities in February 2019. Then-Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a press conference that Smollett "took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."

Smollett was also accused of sending a racist letter to himself at Fox and of paying the Osundairo brothers $3,500 to help stage the attack.

He pled not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct in March 2019 but was cleared of all charges within the month.

"He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgement," said a statement from Smollett's legal counsel at the time.

Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago at the time, said the decision to drop charges against Smollett "a whitewash of justice" at a news conference in March 2019.

"This is without a doubt a whitewash of justice and sends a clear message that if you're in a position of influence and power, you'll get treated one way, other people will be treated another way. There is no accountability in the system. It is wrong, full stop," Emanuel said.

Still believing the case was a fraud, Chicago police ordered Smollett to pay $130,000 in compensation for the time officers spent investigating the crime. Smollett was accused of "diverting resources from other investigations and undermining the criminal justice system" in a letter sent by the Chicago Department of Law.

According to court documents, Smollett is expected to be arraigned later this February.