A little over a year after Jussie Smollett’s controversial allegations of being a victim of a racist and homophobic attack, a grand jury charged him with a six-count indictment for lying to Chicago police about the attack, a special prosecutor announced on Feb. 11.
Back in January 2019, Smollett told Chicago police that he was walking home at night and was approached by two masked men who viciously attacked him. He claimed that they also tied a noose around his neck and hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him. Smollett alleges that one of the assailants also told him that “he was in MAGA country,” a reference to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign slogan, according to Fox Business. Several weeks later, authorities alleged that Smollett had paid two Nigerian men $3,500 to help him stage the attack because he was unhappy with his salary as an actor on the popular drama series Empire and wanted to garner attention and publicity for his career. Smollett was later charged with felony disorderly conduct after Chicago officers said he orchestrated the alleged hate crime and falsified a police report. The city also sued Smollett, seeking reimbursement of more than $130,000 for overtime paid to officers who were involved in investigating Smollett’s false report. Smollett’s attorneys said the city should not be allowed to recover costs from Smollett because it accepted a forfeited $10,000 bond from the actor “as payment in full in connection with the dismissal of the charges against him.” The 16 counts of disorderly conduct were later dropped against Smollett.
This story immediately became newsworthy and high-profile considering the FBI reported more than 7,100 hate crime incidents in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available. But the Bureau of Justice Statistics conducts a hate crimes survey and estimates there could be up to 250,000 hate crimes a year, according to ProPublica.org.
Tina Glandian, Smollett’sattorney, did not immediately return a call for comment, according to the AP News.