Actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted on six new charges of disorderly conduct, accusing him of filing false police reports claiming he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack last year.
A special Cook County grand jury handed down the new indictment on Tuesday, following a six-month investigation by special prosecutor Dan Webb.
In a statement, Webb’s office said Smollett filed four separate false police reports claiming he was the victim of a hate crime.
“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,” Webb said in a statement.
Smollett’s legal team issued a statement Tuesday night claiming the new indictment was political in nature and an affront to justice.
“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.”
It was unclear where Smollett was Tuesday night, but he is due in court on Feb. 24.
Cook County prosecutors last year dropped 16 disorderly conduct charges against Smollett, just over a month after Chicago police had accused him of orchestrating a hoax because he was upset with his salary on the TV show “Empire.”
Last August, Cook County Judge Michael Toomin appointed Webb, a former federal prosecutor, as a special prosecutor in the Smollett case; tasking him to not only investigate Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s handling of the case, but to decide if Smollett should be further prosecuted for allegedly staging a fake hate crime against himself.
In a statement on the new Smollett indictment, Webb wrote that his office “obtained sufficient factual evidence to determine that it disagrees with how the CCSAO resolved the Smollett case.”
Webb said the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office could not provide him with any evidence that the decision last year to dismiss the charges against Smollett was handled similar to other cases.
“The CCSAO has been unable to provide the [Office of the Special Prosecutor] with documentary evidence that shows that, in dismissing the Smollett case on the terms presented in court on March 26, 2019, the CCSAO relied on other dispositions of similar cases prior to the Smollett case that would justify this disposition,” Webb wrote.
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Source: CBS Chicago