Empire actor Jussie Smollett could be facing up to 48 years in prison after being hit with an additional 15 counts of filing a false police report.
Smollett was hit with the 15 additional felony disorderly conduct charges by a grand jury on March 7. He may also be forced to pay a fine of up to $400,000.
The 36-year-old actor had already been charged with one Class 4 Felony charge of disorderly conduct in February, which could have meant a three year prison sentence plus a $25,000 fine.
I think Actor Jussie Smollett deserves prison time. But he is facing 48 years. That is too much. But I imagine police and prosecutors are extremely angry.
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) March 9, 2019
As reported by ABC News, the indictment was confirmed by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Smollett’s attorney, Mark Geragos, released the following statement:
The fact of an indictment is not unexpected. We knew that there is no way they would expose their evidence to a public airing and subject their witnesses to cross-examination.
What is unexpected however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts against Jussie.
This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines in order to distract from the internal investigation launched to investigate the outrageous leaking of false information by the Chicago Police Department and the shameless and illegal invasion of Jussie’s privacy in tampering with his medical records.
Jussie adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption.
Y’all still treating #JussieSmollett like he was an actual victim. He staged a racist and homophobic Hate crime because he wanted more money and fame. F him and his indictments. He will plea out and serve minimal time.
— Eddie (@eddieb2) March 8, 2019
Smollett has denied the charges, and will be returning to court in Chicago next week (beginning March 11). On March 14, he will face the charges in court.
It is anticipated Smollett will cut a plea deal with authorities.
Smollett told authorities he had been attacked on January 29, by two men who were ‘yelling out racial and homophobic slurs’.
Smollett said one of the attackers had put a rope around his neck, and had poured some sort of chemical substance on him.
Police believe Smollett had paid two men to carry out the alleged assault on him.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.