March 8, 2019 6:20 pm
Updated: March 8, 2019 11:04 pm

Jussie Smollett grand jury returns a 16-count indictment over alleged staged attack: reports

WATCH ABOVE: 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett facing 16 felony charges

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Empire actor Jussie Smollett is facing 16 counts of disorderly conduct after a jury returned an indictment against him on Thursday, reports said.

CBS reported that the Cook County grand jury has filed the indictment against him in connection with an allegation of having filed a false police report in January.

Smollet’s lawyer Mark Geragos called the indictment “redundant and vindictive” and said his client “adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption.”

WATCH: Feb. 22: Following his arrest, Jussie Smollett is maintaining his innocence as the producers of “Empire” reveal he is being written out of the season’s remaining episodes.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office previously charged him with one count of disorderly conduct on Feb. 20, ABC7 noted — he pleaded not guilty.

The indictment came after Smollett, a veteran actor who has also starred in Alien: Covenant and The Mighty Ducks, reported to police that two masked men had shouted homophobic slurs, beat him and wrapped a noose around his neck on Jan. 29.

Smollett was subsequently charged with filing a false police report just under a month later — the charge could bring as many as three years in prison.

READ MORE: Jussie Smollett charged with filing false police report about being attacked

Chicago Police have alleged that Smollett paid the two men, brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo, $35,000 to stage the attack and that he instructed them to buy the noose at a hardware store.

There are two sets of charges in the indictment, ABC7 noted.

The first concerns what the actor told police following the alleged attack — the allegations that they had yelled slurs, the noose and the beating itself.

WATCH: Feb. 22 — Jussie Smollett freed on US$100K bond after charge laid in ‘hoax’ attack

The second has to do with what Smollett told police in an interview.

Each of the charges carries a maximum penalty of three years, as well as a $25,000 fine.

He’s likely to arrange a plea deal, ABC7 reported.

WATCH: Feb. 22 — Jussie Smollett maintaining innocence after being charged for filing false police report

  • With files from Reuters

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