Jussie Smollett has been indicted in Chicago by special prosecutor Dan Webb.
The indictment stems from the faked racist and anti-gay attack that he still claims took place in January 2019.
He is due in court February 24.
Smollett told Chicago police last year that two men physically attacked him and yelled racial and homophobic slurs.
Prosecutors insist Smollett faked the racist, anti-gay attack on himself in the hopes that the attention would advance his acting career.
But with little explanation, authorities last year abruptly dropped all charges against Smollett, abandoning the criminal case only five weeks after the allegations were filed. In return, prosecutors said, the actor agreed to let the city keep his $10,000 in bail.
The dismissal drew a swift backlash from the mayor and police chief and raised questions about why Smollett was not forced to admit what prosecutors had said they could prove in court – that the entire episode was a publicity stunt.
Among those sure to keep pressing for answers was then-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who appeared blindsided by the decision. His voice rising in anger at times, Emanuel called the deal “a whitewash of justice” and lashed out at Smollett. He said Smollett had exploited hate-crime laws meant to protect minorities by turning the laws “inside out, upside down for only one thing – himself.”
“Where is the accountability in the system?” Emanuel asked. “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 has become a household name as a result of the case, but it’s unclear if the dropped charges will diminish the taint that followed his arrest last month. His insistence that he had been vindicated may make the entertainment industry cautious about fully embracing him.
Defense attorneys said Smollett’s record was “wiped clean” of the 16 felony counts related to making a false report. The actor, who also agreed to do community service, insisted that he had “been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”
“I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I was being accused of,” he told reporters after a court hearing. He thanked the state of Illinois “for attempting to do what’s right.”
Jussie thought he escaped the charges — but now he’ll have to answer for his alleged actions in a court of law.
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The special prosecutor appointed by a judge last year to reevaluate the circumstances around the case announced Tuesday that Smollett had been charged by a grand jury with six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly making false reports to police. These charges come almost a year after charges were dropped against the Empire actor in exchange for him forfeiting his $10,000 bond and agreeing to community service. Smollett had originally been charged with 16 felony counts in relation to a hate crime he claimed to be the victim of. The actor filed a police report claiming he had been attacked by two people who yelled MAGA chants and anti-gay slurs, put a rope around his neck, and poured a chemical substance on him. Smollett has retained his innocence, saying, “I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.” [?: Nuccio Dinuzzo/ Getty Images/ Chicago Sun-Times via AP]