Jussie Smollett indicted on 16 felony counts by grand jury

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CHICAGO (CBS) - Jussie Smollett is now facing deeper legal troubles after a grand jury returned 16 federal counts against the actor for falsely reporting a hate crime attack against him in January.

The grand jury returned the disorderly conduct charges on Thursday. He is scheduled to be arraigned on March 14. The “false report of offense” charges are Class 4 felonies.

“Jussie Smollett knew that at the time … there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed,” according to the indictment.

The indictment expands the case against the actor. The counts focus on allegedly false statements he made to two different Chicago Police officers. Each count covers various alleged acts that Smollett falsely described to the officers–including that he was hit by two men, that they yelled racial and homophobic slurs and poured a chemical on him.

Last month, Smollett was charged with one count of disorderly conduct for allegedly staging a racist and homophobic attack last month in Streeterville.

Smollett, who is black and openly gay, had told police he was attacked as he was walking home around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29. He claimed two masked men – one of them also wearing a red hat – shouted racist and homophobic slurs as they beat him, put a noose around his neck, and poured a chemical on them.

Click here to read the full article by 11 News partner CBS Chicago.