Smollett Attorney: 16 Felony Indictment Is 'Vindictive'

Yolanda Curtis
March 10, 2019

In one set of charges, the grand jury stated that Smollett filed a false police report at 2 a.m. on January 29, saying that he was attacked by two men who used racial and homophobic slurs while hitting him the face.

But investigators say they managed to use a ride-sharing app to track and identify two brothers who were filmed near the scene.

The grand jury's indictment is split into two separate sets of charges, the first pertaining to what Smollett initially told officers about the attack, while the second set are related to a second interview Smollett gave police later in the day on the 29th.

He also said that levelling charges in an indictment spares prosecutors the need to submit evidence and witnesses to defence cross-examination in a preliminary hearing, where a judge decides if sufficient cause exists for the case to proceed to trial.

FOX via Getty Images
FOX via Getty Images

The counts focus on allegedly false statements he made to two different Chicago Police officers.

Empire star Jussie Smollett will be going into the weekend with a legal anvil hanging over his head.

Smollett has remained free on $100,000 bond since his release hours after surrendering to authorities on February 21.

Smollett has denied any involvement in orchestrating an attack.

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Reports of an assault on Smollett drew outrage and support for him on social media from some politicians and celebrities.

Jussie Smollett now faces 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct which carry a maximum prison sentence of 48 years. Police say that in fact, the two men who have admitted taking part in the staged attack are both black.

The brothers say he paid them $3500 to do it and that he promised them an additional $500 which they would get when they came home from a trip to Nigeria.

During a recent press conference, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett exploited the "pain and anger of racism" in order to stage the attack.

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Celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos has responded to a publicized indictment against the Hollywood actor over allegedly filing a false police report.

"Jussie Smollett knew that at the time of this transmission there was no reasonable ground for believing that such an offense had been committed", the indictment states.

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