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Jussie Smollett's Lone Felony Count That He Was Arrested on Last Month Turned into 16 by Grand Jury

Oyin Balogun
Mar 11, 2019
09:03 P.M.

Things have gone worse for Empire star, Jussie Smollett after his one count charge of falsifying a police report was returned with a 16-count indictment.

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Last Thursday, television star, Smollett got a 16-count charge by a grand jury in Cook County, Chicago, as confirmed by the office of the State Attorney.

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The “Empire Star” has previously been charged on a single count for allegedly lying to the police. The counts contain two different sets drawn from the inaccuracies in his report after he was attacked.

The first is from the information Jussie provided about his alleged attack; it contains the racial and homophonic words thrown at the actor, as well as a report on a rope tied to his neck. Also, he recounted being hit severally.

The second is from Smollett’s follow-up interview. The “Conqueror” singer stated that his attackers came from behind, pushed him down, and kicked him continuously. The two sets of details were merged to arrive at the number of counts the 36-year-old is facing.

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Reacting to the indictment, Mark Geragos, Smollett’s attorney, released a statement on Friday in which he stated that although not surprised at the turn of events, he is however shocked at the number of counts against his client. Adding that the prosecution was “Vindictive.”

Legal experts in Chicago have given their opinion of the Smollett case. Terry Sullivan, a local attorney, said the prosecutors were after the actor for embarrassing the city, which is why they took each of his lies and turned it into a count.

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Famous defense attorney, Joseph Lopez, reiterated this, adding that it was a common practice for prosecutors in the county to charge as much as possible for a crime. The two, however, agree that it does not matter if the singer gets convicted on all the charges, he will only get sentenced for one, since the sixteen makeup only one crime.

The actor who is popularly known for his role as “Jamal Lyon” was arrested last month after police found his account of the events of the alleged hate-crime against him inconsistent with the evidence.

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Smollett was released from jail after he posted the $100, 000 bail bond, but his actions have kept many wondering if it will make it more challenging to believe real victims.

Data collected from 2004-2015 by the U.S. Bureau of Statistics showed that 250,000 people report hate crimes yearly. This is thousands more than the FBI's record published in 2017.

With these statistics, Smollett’s case is not likely to affect victims of hate-crimes, as every case is judged on its merit.

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