Jussie Smollett: 'Empire' Actor Indicted on 16 Felony Counts by Chicago Grand Jury

Empire actor Jussie Smollett has been formally indicted on 16 felony counts by a Chicago grand jury.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, all 16 charges stem from him allegedly lying to police about a hate crime attack that he has since become suspected of orchestrating.

Smollett previously surrendered himself to police and was booked on the false police report charges. He was released after posting the $100,000 bail.

Police have alleged that they believe he manufactured the situation in order to further his acting career by gaining notoriety for being assaulted over his race and sexual orientation.

Two brothers named Abel and Ola Osundairo have claimed that Smollett hired them to help carry out the fake attack, and have stated to police that he paid them to do so.

Smollett's legal team previously issued a statement on the allegations that he fabricated the assault, reaffirming his declaration of innocence following his bail hearing and release.

"Mr. Smollet is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing," the statement began.

"Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system. The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election," the statement added.

Consequently, Smollett was released from Empire for the remainder of the current season, following his arrest. The show's producers issued a joint statement regarding the decision, explaining that it was a difficult choice.

"The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us" read the statement from Empire executives Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer.


"Jussie has been an important member of our Empire family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out. We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of 'Jamal' from the final two episodes of the season," the statement continued.

If he is convicted, Smollett faces potential prison time. He is due back in court on March 14.