Actor Jussie Smollett is not out of the woods legally for an alleged self-orchestrated hate crime he said happened last year during the arctic blast in Chicago. Originally all charges were dropped but now a special Cook County grand jury has indicted Smollett on six counts of disorderly conduct.
BREAKING: Actor Jussie Smollett indicted by a grand jury. Special prosecutor Dan Webb has been digging into the case since August. More details to follow . @cbschicago https://t.co/1sBfbemQIM pic.twitter.com/f7QJnbRmMz
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 11, 2020
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.
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.
What about double jeopardy?
Legal experts have said that’s not an issue because Smollett was never put on trial in the first place.