Los Angeles, CA (Variety) — “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted on 16 counts of filing a false police report, stemming from his alleged staging of a Jan. 29 hate attack, Variety has confirmed.
Smollett had previously been charged with a single count of filing a false police report, which carries the possibility of up to three years in prison.
A Cook County grand jury returned a more thorough indictment on Friday. Eight of the charges involve false statements given to Officer Muhammed Baig, while the other eight pertain to a more detailed account given to Det. Kim Murray.
Smollett told the police that he was assaulted at 2 a.m. by two men who shouted homophobic and racial slurs and put a noose around his neck. In the more detailed account, he claimed that he fought back, and that one of the attackers was white, according to prosecutors.
“Jussie Smollett knew that at the time of this transmission there was no reasonable ground for believing that such an offense had been committed,” the indictment states.
The new counts likely will not have much effect on Smollett's ultimate sentence, should he be convicted, said Andrew Weisberg, a former Cook County … — Gene Maddaus/@Variety