Controversial Empire star Jussie Smollett has been slapped with criminal charges - again - stemming allegations made last year concerning an alleged assault. According to new reports, the actor is accused of lying to the Chicago Police Department about the purported attack against him and has been indicted on six counts of disorderly conduct. To face these charges, Smollett is due to appear in criminal court on Feb. 24.

Special prosecutor Dan K. Webb also spoke about the county's decision to charge Smollett in a statement released to the press. Noting that the investigation into the incident is now complete, Webb claims the determination was made that Smollett deliberately made "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."

This whole fiasco began in January of 2019 when Smollett reported to police officers he had been the subject of a hate crime. According to Smollett, two unidentified men had attacked him, dousing him with an unknown chemical and even placed a noose around his neck. They also allegedly used racial and homophobic slurs during the attack, with Smollett suggesting he had been the victim of a hate crime as a gay African-American.

The biggest holes in Jussie Smollett's story were made apparent when the two assailants were identified as two Nigerian brothers who'd worked with him on Empire. With the two fully cooperating with the police, officers say evidence was uncovered to suggest the whole ordeal was an elaborate hoax organized by Smollett, with the actor paying the two men to go along with the plan. In response, Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts in relation to filing a false police report. The charges were later dismissed as part of a deal with Smollett which saw him forfeit his $10,000 bond and perform 16 hours of community service.

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Jussie Smollett was later sued by the city of Chicago to the tune of over $130,000 to recover the money paid to officers working overtime to investigate his case. The actor's legal team filed a counter-suit in response, claiming Smollett had been the subject of "mass ridicule and harm" and shouldn't be held liable to pay the city back. Additionally, Smollett was sued by the two brothers police say he hired to help him stage the attack, with the two citing defamation over Smollett's claims they genuinely assaulted him.

Things certainly don't look good for Smollett, but it's important to remember that he's technically innocent until proven guilty. For what it's worth, Smollett has also maintained from the start that the attack was genuine and continues to profess his innocence. "I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I was being accused of," Smollett was quoted as saying after a court hearing last year. He's clearly very adamant that the attack happened exactly as he described, but the police definitely don't buy it, and neither does the majority of the American public. Perhaps he got lucky last time, but we'll see if this new round of charges will turn out the same way. This news comes to us from Fox.

Jeremy Dick at TVweb
Jeremy Dick