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Jussie Smollett indicted again over false reports of hate crime

(JTA) — Jussie Smollett, the “Empire” actor who had charges dropped last year for lying to police about a racist and homophobic attack, has been indicted by a special prosecutor on the same charges.

The special prosecutor, Dan Webb, said in a statement Tuesday that Smollett faces six felony counts of disorderly conduct over four false reports that he gave to police in which he said he was the victim of a hate crime “knowing that he was not the victim of a crime,” The Associated Press reported.

Cook County prosecutors had dropped charges against Smollett, 37, in March 2019, the case was sealed and the actor’s record expunged. The Chicago Prosecutor’s Office said then that Smollett had performed community service and forfeited his $100,000 bond.

Police concluded that Smollett, who is Jewish, black and gay, had staged the early-morning downtown Chicago attack in January 2019 on himself and had paid two Nigerian brothers, one who appears on “Empire,” to carry it out.

Smollett told police after the attack that two men “gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him” before attacking, pouring an “unknown chemical substance” on him and wrapping a rope around his neck.

Smollett’s openly gay character Jamal Lyon was written out of the final two episodes of the fifth season of “Empire” and did not return for the show’s sixth and final season.