CNN reports that a Chicago grand jury has indicted Jussie Smollett on six counts for making false reports. A new special prosecutor wants to bring the actor to justice after previous lawyers backed off the case.

jussie smollett at a red carpet event looking bored
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The Jussie Smollett Case

A quick recap:

  • Smollett, who is black and openly gay, was an actor on the hit Fox show “Empire”
  • The actor claimed he was the victim of a racist, homophobic attack near his home in Chicago on January 29, 2019
  • Further investigation by police revealed that Smollett had orchestrated the entire story
  • Police say Smollett faked the attack for publicity; Smollett repeatedly denies these claims
Smollett had told detectives that he was walking home at about 2 a.m. when he was attacked by two men yelling racial and homophobic slurs. He said they hit him, doused him in a chemical substance and put a noose around his neck.
Officials immediately investigated, only to find, according to CNN, “footage of the brothers buying supplies, including the rope, that would be used in the attack … they also found that Smollett texted the brothers days before the incident saying he needed their ‘help on the low,’ … phone records showed that he talked to them before and after he said the attack took place … Smollett even took them to the scene to show them where it should take place to be caught on camera.”

Special Prosecutor Joins the Conversation

Officials assigned special prosecutor Dan K. Webb to the case in August. Webb said in a statement that his office “has now completed all of its investigative steps regarding Jussie Smollett, and has made the decision to further prosecute Mr. Smollett.”

The statement continued, “Based on the recommendation of the OSP (Office of the Special Prosecutor), a Cook County grand jury returned a six-count indictment charging Jussie Smollett with making 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.”

Strange Timing in the Smollet Case

Originally, Smollett was indicted in March 2019 on 16 counts of felony disorder conduct. But strangely, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx dropped all charges just weeks later.

Many are suspicious of this timing, considering Kim Foxx is seeking reelection soon.

“What’s questionable here is the James Comey-like timing of that charging decision, just 35 days before an election, which can only be interpreted as the further politicization of the justice system, something voters in the era of Donald Trump should consider offensive,” the statement from Webb’s office said.

Special prosecutor Webb disagrees with how Foxx’s team handled the case. Webb’s statement continues,

“The CCSAO decision-makers overseeing the Smollett resolution decision have not identified any new evidence they learned of between the time of indictment and dismissal of the indictment that changed their view that the evidence against Mr. Smollett was strong.”

Kim Foxx has admitted to handling the case poorly.

“Truth is, I didn’t handle it well,” she said. “I own that. I’m making changes in my office to make sure we do better.”