Jussie Smollett indicted on 16 felony counts by grand jury

"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted by a grand jury in Chicago on 16 felony counts after allegedly lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime, NBC News confirmed Friday.

Smollett was charged last month with felony disorderly conduct for the alleged false report he made with Chicago police on Jan. 29, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. In it he claimed he was assaulted by two masked men who hurled racist and homophobic slurs.

Smollett was charged by a grand jury of 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for making a false report, according to a criminal complaint.

Smollett and his attorneys have previously denied the allegations against him.

In a statement released after Smollett was charged, his attorneys said he "enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked."

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Jussie Smollett out and about
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 06: Jussie Smollett speaks at the Children's Defense Fund California's 28th Annual Beat The Odds Awards at Skirball Cultural Center on December 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - JANUARY 21: Jussie Smollett is seen at NATPE Miami 2019 - Tyler Perry Keynote 'Living the Dream: A Career in Content' at the Fontainebleau Hotel on January 21, 2019 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 01: Jussie Smollett performs onstage during amfAR Dance2Cure at Bardot on December 1, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 02: Jussie Smollett attends The Trevor Project's 2018 TrevorLIVE Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on December 02, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 01: Jussie Smollett attends the Black AIDS Institute's 2018 Heroes in The Struggle Gala at California African American Museum on December 01, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rachel Luna/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Jussie Smollett attends SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations: 'Empire' at The Robin Williams Center on November 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Actor Jussie Smollett is seen in Midtown on November 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Actor and activist Jussie Smollett visits Build Series to discuss the TV show 'Empire' and his work for charitable causes at Build Studio on November 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Jussie Smollett performs onstage at Espolòn Celebrates Day of the Dead at Academy Nightclub on November 1, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tasia Wells/Getty Images for Espolòn)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Jussie Smollett attends a meet & greet at Bloomingdale's on October 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 22: Jussie Smollett speaks during the 'Empire' season 5 world premiere during the 2018 Tribeca TV Festival at Spring Studios on September 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images for Tribeca TV)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 15: Jussie Smollett attends the Entertainment Weekly Pre-Emmy Party 2018 at Sunset Tower Hotel on September 15, 2018 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 30: Actor Jussie Smollett attends the 2018 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards at Woodruff Arts Center on August 30, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BMI)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 02: Fergie (L) and Jussie Smollett attend the FOX Summer TCA 2018 All-Star Party at Soho House on August 2, 2018 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JULY 07: Actor/singer Jussie Smollett attends the 2018 Essence Festival - Night 2 at Louisiana Superdome on July 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 22: Jussie Smollet performs during Acoustically Speaking, sponsored by M&Ms, during the 2018 BET Experience at Los Angeles Convention Center on June 22, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images for BET)
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The actor, 36, who is black and gay, also said his attackers poured what he believed was bleach over him and put a noose around his neck. Authorities then began to investigate the case a potential hate crime.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told NBC News at the time of his arrest in late February that the investigation into the alleged attack demanded "considerable" police resources. He said that at one point the department had 12 detectives scouring surveillance videos.

Some social media users began to cast doubt on Smollett's claims after police said they were not able to find footage of the alleged attack after going through a voluminous amount of recordings from the many surveillance cameras in the area.

Police also had said Smollett refused to turn over his phone and phone records for the investigation. The actor had told police he was on the phone with his manager at the time of the attack.

Police have said, however, that Smollett was cooperating with the investigation, and later gave investigators a PDF file with partial phone records.

Guglielmi said on Feb. 16 that the investigation shifted after questioning two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, who were potential persons of interest in the case.

Just days later, Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct for the alleged false report.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said after Smollett’s arrest that the actor “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”

Johnson claimed that Smollett was unhappy with his salary on Fox’s “Empire” and Smollett sent himself a letter containing racist language, and when that did not work, he paid $3,500 to orchestrate the attack.

The top prosecutor in the Chicago area, Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx, recused herself from the case in February because she had had "conversations with a family member of Jussie Smollett about the incident and their concerns, and facilitated a connection to the Chicago Police Department," a spokesperson for the office said.

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