The walls are closing in even further on actor and fake hate crime aficionado Jussie Smollett.
A grand jury has now indicted the “empire actor on 16 felony count related to his alleged faking of a hate crime against him in January, NBC News reported.
It was not immediately clear what the specific charges against Smollett were. He was charged last month with one felony count of disorderly conduct in filing a false police report.
Chicago police said in a press conference announcing the initial charge that Smollett sent a “false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language” to himself and staged a hate crime attack in Chicago because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”
Authorities had previously said new information “shifted” their investigation of the reported assault, in which Smollett told authorities he was physically attacked as he was returning home from an early morning stop at a Subway restaurant on Jan. 29. He said two masked men shouted racial, anti-gay slurs and “This is MAGA country!” as they looped a rope around his neck and poured an “unknown chemical substance” on him before running away.
“Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked,” Smollett’s legal team said in a statement when he was initially charged. “Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”
BREAKING: A grand jury has returned a 16-count felony indictment against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett. https://t.co/zuaJx1s4Ck
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) March 8, 2019