According to the Chicago Tribune, former Empire actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted by a special prosecutor on six counts of disorderly conduct related to allegations that he staged a hate crime attack in Chicago in early 2019. This is the latest twist in an extremely prolonged and complex saga, which began when Smollett claimed he was attacked by a couple of men who poured bleach on him, put a noose around his neck, and told him that he was in “MAGA country.” A few days later, the Chicago police accused Smollett of staging the attack because he was unhappy with his treatment on Empire, leading to him getting hit with multiple charges related to filing a fake police report. A month later, all of the charges against him were quietly dropped, but the Chicago Police Department sued him for the costs of the investigation and a special prosecutor was eventually appointed to reinvestigate the case.
Now, that special prosecutor has decided to charge Smollett, citing “the extensive nature of Mr. Smollett’s false police reports, and the resources expended by the Chicago Police Department to investigate these false reports.” The prosecutor also mentioned the surprising nature of the decision to drop the charges, saying the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office “was unable to provide examples of how other cases were disposed of in a similar fashion”—meaning, presumably, that it was unclear why these charges were dropped while others were not. Also, Smollett was previously indicted on 16 felony charges related to allegedly filing the false police reports, but the special prosecutor only saw fit to charge him on six counts. In a statement, the prosecutor—Dan Webb—said that the “further prosecution of Jussie Smollett is in the interest of justice.”
For as messy and complex as this whole thing was before, it looks like it’ll now be getting even messier and more complex.