Jussie Smollett facing six new charges over attack allegations

The case takes another turn

Jussie Smollett has been indicted on six new charges relating to his claims that he was allegedly attacked in January 2019.

The actor claimed he was the victim of a hate crime in Chicago but was later accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack and was arrested for filing a false police report, something he’s always denied. Smollett pleaded not guilty and the charges were later dropped.

The City of Chicago then sued Smollett in an attempt to regain the costs spent on the case. Smollett subsequently countersued, with his lawyer saying the actor suffered “humiliation and extreme distress” following the incident and deemed Chicago city’s actions against him as “malicious.”

Jussie Smollett
Jussie Smollett attends Leighton Criminal Court with his attorney Tina Glandian (L) on March 14, 2019, in Chicago

Now, a Cook County grand jury has indicted Smollett on six new charges after Dan Webb – the special prosecutor assigned last August to investigate how the case was handled – said he was going to further prosecute Smollett.

Webb said that Smollett was charged with “making four separate false reports to Chicago Police Department officers related to his false claims that he was the victim of a hate crime, knowing that he was not the victim of a crime.”

Webb said that his team had “sufficient factual evidence” to argue that prosecutors were wrong to drop the case last year and that the “evidence against Mr. Smollett was strong.”

In a statement, Smollett’s lawyer said: “This indictment raises serious questions about the integrity of the investigation that led to the renewed charges against Mr. Smollett, not the least of which is the use of the same CDP detectives who were part of the original investigation into the attack on Mr. Smollett to conduct the current investigation.”

Actor Jussie Smollett
Actor Jussie Smollett

His lawyer continued question the integrity of the case because of his “pending civil claims against the City of Chicago and CPD Officers for malicious prosecution and one of the two witnesses who testified before the grand jury is the very same detective Mr. Smollett is currently suing for his role in the initial prosecution of him.”

“After more than five months of investigation, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has not found any evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever related to the dismissal of the charges against Mr. Smollett. Rather, the charges were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence.

“The attempt to re-prosecute Mr. Smollett one year later on the eve of the Cook County State’s Attorney election is clearly all about politics not justice.”

Smollett is due to appear in court on 24 February.