On Friday, Empire actor Jussie Smollett was indicted grand jury for 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct, specifically referring to what the police have called "a falsified report of a possible hate crime." This is after Smollett was arrested last month, and was charged with one count of falsifying a police report. The judge granted a $100,000 bail, and Smollett paid a $10,000 bond. He was also asked to give up his passport, and he remains under supervision until his case is adjudicated.
Illinois law states:
"A person commits disorderly conduct when he or she knowingly ... (4) Transmits or causes to be transmitted in any manner to any peace officer, public officer or public employee a report to the effect that an offense will be committed, is being committed, or has been committed, knowing at the time of the transmission that there is no reasonable ground for believing that the offense will be committed, is being committed, or has been committed."
The felony counts piled on as the Cook County grand jury counted each part of his report separately. According to Vox, this means that the actor "could face up to 64 years in prison if convicted, with each of the 16 charges carrying a possible sentence that ranges from probation to four years in jail." He remains out on bail pending an arraignment Thursday.
Chicago Police Department (CPD) spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi retweeted The Wall Street Journal's report on the indictment, and said, "As Superintendent [Eddie] Johnson stated, allegations against Mr. Smollett are shameful & if proven, they are an affront to the people of Chicago who embraced him as a neighbor & respected him as a role model. We stand behind the work of detectives & refer any comment on indictment to prosecutors."
As Supt Johnson stated, allegations against Mr. Smollett are shameful & if proven, they are an affront to the people of Chicago who embraced him as a neighbor & respected him as a role model. We stand behind the work of detectives & refer any comment on indictment to prosecutors https://t.co/7bFECluCSP— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) March 8, 2019
Jussie's attorney Mark Geragos, who has defended other celebrities with criminal charges like Chris Brown and Michael Jackson, maintains that his client is innocent. Geragos is calling the sixteen-count indictment "prosecutorial overkill" and a "desperate attempt to make headlines in order to distract from the internal [CPD] investigation launched to investigate the ... leaking of false information" regarding the Smollett probe.
Geragos is also complaining about the employees at Northwestern Hospital, where Jussie was checked into after the alleged attack. According to the lawyer, the employees performed a "shameless and illegal invasion of Jussie's privacy in tampering with his medical records." Dozens of employees have already been fired from the hospital for "improperly accessing the actor's medical records" as reported by to CBS Chicago affiliate WBBM.
The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that the Chicago Police is currently conducting an internal investigation into the leaks.
Image via Getty