Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted by a grand jury on six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about being the victim of the now infamous homophobic and racist attack carried out by supposed supporters of President Donald Trump last year.
In a statement announcing the indictment, Cook County special prosecutor Dan Webb stated that “a Cook County grand jury returned a six-count indictment charging Jussie Smollett 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 added that further prosecution of Jussie Smollett is “in the interest of justice.”
Tina Glandian, Smollett’s attorney, responded to these new charges in a statement questioning “the integrity of the investigation that led to the renewed charges against Mr. Smollett” and defended the actor’s innocence:
“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 CPD detectives who were part of the original investigation into the attack on Mr. Smollett to conduct the current investigation, despite Mr. Smollett’s 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.”
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who had a personal investment in the case and dropped all 16 of the original felony counts of disorderly conduct against Smollett, took offense to the new charges and claimed that it was being done to sway her upcoming re-election bid, stating that this announcement had “James Comey-like timing.”
“The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office charged Jussie Smollett with multiple counts, and today the Special Prosecutor did the same. What’s questionable here is the James Comey-like timing of that charging decision, just 35 days before an election, which can only be interpreted as the further politicization of the justice system, something voters in the era of Donald Trump should consider offensive.”
Abel and Ola Osundairo, the brothers from Nigeria who assisted Smollett in performing the alleged hoax, issued a statement through their attorney Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez stating that they “will continue to cooperate” with the legal process:
“The Osundairo brothers are aware of the new charges brought against Jussie Smollett today by the grand jury. As stated before, they are fully committed to the public knowing the truth about what occurred on January 29, 2019. The Osundairo brothers will continue to cooperate with that process and they thank the Special Prosecutor’s office for their tireless work in seeing that justice was administered.”
Kathy Fieweger, the Director of Public Affairs for the City of Chicago Department of Law, also released a statement noting that the city will “look forward to reviewing the indictment.”
“We look forward to reviewing the indictment and, as we have said previously, the City stands by our original complaint seeking to recover costs for Mr. Smollett’s false statements. We again thank the Chicago Police Department detectives for their hard work on the original investigation.”
The city of Chicago currently has an outstanding lawsuit against Jussie Smollett, suing the actor for $136,105.15 as reimbursement for the money spent on the investigation into the allegedly false attack.