United States actor Jussie Smollett faces 16 charges over 'staged hate attack'

Nuccio Di Nuzzo via Getty Images Jussie Smollett

On Friday, the State of IL hit suspended Empire star Smollett with 16 class 4 felony counts of disorderly conduct pertaining to allegations he filed a false police report after conspiring to orchestrate a hate crime hoax against himself for publicity purposes.

He also said that at least one of the attackers had yelled, "This is MAGA country", referring to President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan.

Each charge could carry a potential sentence of probation to three years if convicted.

Indictments like the one revealed Friday are common in criminal cases.

The second set of charges is related to the second interview Smollett did with cops about the alleged attack later that day.

The producers behind "Empire" chose to remove Smollett's character, Jamal, from the final two episodes of the season.

Jussie Smollett Charged By Grand Jury Over Empire Star’s Alleged Hate Attack
Handout via Getty Images

Mr Smollett, who was pictured outside the courthouse after posting bail, denies the charge of felony disorderly conduct.

At the February hearing, text messages between Smollett and the Osundairo brothers detailed how the 45-second attack was to be allegedly orchestrated were read in court. The police report connected to these charges also indicate that Smollett claimed that a noose had been placed around his neck and a "chemical" had been poured on him.

"Jussie Smollett knew that at the time ... there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed", according to the indictment.

Smollett himself, according to reports in media citing unnamed sources, apologized last month to the cast and crew on the set of "Empire" but maintained his innocence.

On January 30, Chicago police confirmed they had reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance camera footage, including of Smollett walking downtown but none actually shows the attack happened. He has now been accused of falsely reporting a hate crime. They cause harm to legitimate victims who are in need of support by police and by investigators as well as the citizens in the city. Authorities claim the two attackers, who are black, have confessed to their role in the hoax after Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the incident.

In February, Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct.

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