The special prosecutor tasked with investigating the handling of the Jussie Smollett hoax attack allegations in Chicago has indicted the former "Empire" actor, nearly a year after previous charges against Smollett were dropped.
What are the details?
Special prosecutor Dan Webb announced Tuesday that he has decided to move forward with prosecuting Smollett, after "a Cook County grand jury returned a six-count indictment charging Jussie Smollett with making four separate false reports to Chicago Police Department officers related to his false claims that he was the victim of a hate crime, knowing that he was not the victim of a crime."
Mr. Webb went on to write in the press release, "the grand jury's investigation revealed that Jussie Smollett planned and participated in a staged hate crime attack, and thereafter made numerous false statements to Chicago Police Department officers on multiple occasions, reporting a heinous hate crime that he, in fact, knew had not occurred."
Smollett was accused last year of concocting a story that he was jumped and harassed by masked men who yelled "MAGA country" in what he claimed was a homophobic and racially charged attack.
Chicago police investigated the alleged attack and determined that Smollett staged the ordeal in order to gain attention and further his career. Smollett was indicted by a grand jury in March 2019 and charged with 16 felonies in connection with the fake attack allegations — but all the charges against him were mysteriously dropped a few weeks later by the office of Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, who had recused herself from the case.
Following outrage over the dropped charges, Mr. Webb was hired in August of last year to investigate why Kim Foxx's office dropped the charges against Smollett and to determine whether to file new criminal charges against the actor.
In his press release, Mr. Webb noted that his investigation into the Cook County State's Attorney's Office is ongoing, but added that the Office of the Special Prosecutor "has obtained sufficient factual evidence to determine that it disagrees with how the CCSAO resolved the Smollett case."
Smollett is due to appear in court on Feb. 24. He has repeatedly claimed he is completely innocent.