Jussie Smollett indicted on new charges related to alleged hate crime hoax

By Erin Donaghue

/ CBS News

Cops release new videos in Smollett case

Actor Jussie Smollett is facing new charges related to allegations he staged a hoax hate crime last year. A special Cook County grand jury indicted the "Empire" actor on six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about the January 2019 "attack," according to the indictment. The new charges come after a six-month investigation by a special prosecutor.

Smollett, who is black and gay, said he was assaulted by two men who yelled racist and anti-gay slurs on a Chicago street. But police have said Smollett paid two brothers in an elaborate attempt to stage an attack hoax. Police said he was unhappy with his salary on the hit show and wanted to garner publicity.

The Cook County State's Attorney's office initially charged Smollett last February on 16 counts related to lying to police, but the charges were dropped the following month after Smollett agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bail and perform 16 hours of community service, CBS Chicago reported. Smollett did not admit guilt and has insisted he has been truthful.

Jussie Smollett
Jussie Smollett after his court appearance on March 26, 2019, in Chicago. Getty

The move to drop charges prompted an outcry from police and city officials. Then-mayor Rahm Emanuel called it a "whitewash of justice."

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Last August, a Cook County judge appointed Dan Webb, a former federal prosecutor, as a special prosecutor in the Smollett case, the station reports. He was tasked with reviewing Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's handling of the case, and deciding whether Smollett should be further prosecuted.

A lawyer for the two brothers who said Smollett paid them to stage the attack — Abel and Ola Osundairo — said they are "fully committed to the public knowing the truth" and will continue to cooperate with investigators.

First published on February 11, 2020 / 5:58 PM

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Erin Donaghue reports and writes for CBSNews.com on topics including criminal justice, social justice and culture. Follow her on Twitter at @ErinDonaghue.

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