Jussie Smollett Indicted By Special Prosecutor In Chicago

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Written by Ann Brown
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Actor Jussie Smollett has been accused of lying to the Chicago Police Department and has been indicted on 6 counts of disorderly conduct in Chicago. Images: Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Smollett/AP

Actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted in Chicago by special prosecutor Dan Webb. He has been accused of lying to the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and was indicted on 6 counts of disorderly conduct.

This stems from Smollett’s claim that he was the victim of a racist and anti-gay attack that occurred in January of 2019 in the Windy City. The former “Empire” actor is due in court on February 24. 

According to a statement released by Webb, Smollett faces six felony counts of disorderly conduct, charges that stem from four separate false reports that he gave to police in which he contended he was a victim of a hate crime “knowing that he was not the victim of a crime.”

“The statement immediately raised questions about county prosecutors’ decision to drop the charges last year and made it clear that those prosecutors had not adequately explained to special prosecutors why they did so. But Webb stressed that he had reached no conclusions about whether anyone involved in the case had engaged in any wrongdoing,” Fox 32 Chicago reported.

Here is the statement from Webb: “Dan K. Webb, special prosecutor for Cook County, today announced that the Office of the Special Prosecutor (“OSP”) has now completed all of its investigative steps regarding Jussie Smollett, and has made the decision to further prosecute Mr. Smollett.  Based on the recommendation of the OSP, 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,” Webb said in a statement.

Smollett’s attorney, Tina Glandian, said in a statement: “This indictment raises serious questions about the integrity of the investigation that led to the renewed charges against Mr. Smollett, not the least of which is the use of the same CPD detectives who were part of the original investigation into the attack on Mr. Smollett to conduct the current investigation, despite Mr. Smollett’s pending civil claims against the City of Chicago and CPD officers for malicious prosecution.  One of the two witnesses who testified before the grand jury is the very same detective Mr. Smollett is currently suing for his role in the initial prosecution of him. After more than five months of investigation, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has not found any evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever related to the dismissal of the charges against Mr. Smollett. Rather, the charges were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence. The attempt to re-prosecute Mr. Smollett one year later on the eve of the Cook County State’s Attorney election is clearly all about politics not justice.”

The whole case has been messy. Smollett claimed his attackers physically and verbally attacked him on a Chicago street, even putting a noose around his neck. Following a police investigation, it was concluded Smollett organized the attack on himself. And he was, in turn, charged with making a false police report. 

“But with little explanation, authorities in March of 2019 abruptly dropped all charges against Smollett, abandoning the criminal case only five weeks after the allegations were filed. In return, prosecutors said, the actor agreed to let the city keep his $10,000 in bail,” Fox 32 Chicago reported.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx dropped the charges against the actor and she came under attack. Her actions are being looked into by the special prosecutor.

In August 2019, a judge appointed Webb, a former U.S. attorney, as a special prosecutor to look into why the original charges were dropped. 

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Foxx’s office has also released a statement about the new indictment. It said: “As the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office does in all cases, the Special Prosecutor reviewed the facts, evidence, and the law, and determined charges were appropriate in this matter. We are unable to comment further as the matter is pending.”

Additionally, Chicago sued Smollett for reimbursement of more than $130,000 for overtime paid to officers who were involved in investigating Smollett’s initial report. 

According to the police investigation, Smollett hired two brothers to help him stage a racist, anti-gay attack on himself, including instructions to yell slurs at him and to shout “MAGA country,” a reference to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan. Police said Smollett paid $3,500 to the brothers, Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo. The Osundairo brothers cooperated with the police.