An Illinois grand jury found sufficient evidence to indict actor Jussie Smollett on more than a dozen felony criminal counts.
According to WLS, the former “Empire” star is facing 16 counts of disorderly conduct in connection with allegedly filing a false police report. The indictment was handed down on Thursday at a Cook County court.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Smollett faced increasing scrutiny after initially claiming he was the victim of a violent hate crime outside of a Chicago restaurant in January.
He was later arrested on suspicion of conspiring to orchestrate the incident and paying two acquaintances to help pull it off.
He was locked up and later released after posting $100,000 bond. If convicted, each felony charge carries a possible sentence of up to three years.
According to CWB Chicago, the charges relate to two alleged crimes. First was the police report he filed on January 29, which investigators say was fraudulent. Secondly, Smollett spoke to a police detective later the same day, allegedly making false claims about the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Smollett could potentially enter into a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid jail time altogether.
Additional federal charges could still be forthcoming related to an incident days before the supposed hate crime. He claimed a threatening letter in an envelope containing a powdery substance had been addressed to him at the television studio where he worked on the Fox series.
In a previous statement, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said Smollett was upset that the letter he allegedly sent himself did not attract enough media attention. He allegedly staged the hate crime in response, motivated in part by dissatisfaction with his salary.