5:48 PM PT: Smollett’s attorney, Mark Geragos, tells The Blast in an explosive 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.”
He adds, “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.”
He also says, “Jussie adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption.”
Jussie Smollett is now facing 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct after a grand jury in Cook County filed a new indictment over allegations he staged an attack against himself.
The grand jury indictment came down on Thursday after the “Empire” star had previously been charged with one felony count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police.
According to CBS Chicago, the indictment reads, “Jussie Smollett knew that at the time … there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed.”
Smollett claimed to have been attacked by two men on January 29, alleging they screamed racist and homophobic slurs at him. He also claimed to have had bleach thrown on him and a noose.
Superintendent Eddie Johnson, in a heated press conference last month, said police now believed Smollett staged the attack with the help of two brothers.
“Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Johnson said.
Smollett was eventually arrested and released on $100,000 bail.
Last week, Smollett was seen in public for the first time since his release from jail, grabbing dinner with his family in Chicago.
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