Major development in the Chicago police department's investigation into Jussie Smollett: new reports indicate that a Cook County grand jury has returned a 16-count indictment against the actor. According to CNN, the indictment reveals that Smollet gave two different accounts of what really took place to a Chicago police officer and to a detective. He also noted that a noose was placed around his neck and a chemical was poured on him.
Police say they have a cheque, signed by Mr Smollett, which showed that he had agreed to pay the brothers $3500. The actor's legal counsel told Fox News after Smollett was accused of filing the fake police report that the nation "witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system".
After police detained two brothers who were "persons of interest" in mid-February, police sources revealed that authorities suspected Smollett knew the men and allegedly had paid them $3,500 to stage the attack. The indictment reads: 'Jussie Smollett reported that one of his attackers was a male white, in dark clothing'. Each one of the charges carries a maximum count of four years in prison, meaning he could face 64 years in total. During that interview, Smollett said he was "pissed" people didn't believe him.
Smollett and his attorneys have denied the allegations against him. Johnson also alleged that Smollett concocted the threatening letter he received prior to the alleged attack that contained homophobic and racist language, and when that "didn't work", went ahead with the attack.
The indictment, made public Friday, comes a little more than two weeks after prosecutors charged Smollett with a single felony count and he was released from Cook County Jail after a friend posted his $100,000 bond.
Officials said they were released without charge after providing information that "shifted the trajectory of the investigation". Executive producers said in a statement issued the next day that Smollett's character would be removed from the current season's final two episodes.
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