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Actor Smollett indicted again for staging hate crime

Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published 2 weeks ago - Duration: 01:20s

Actor Smollett indicted again for staging hate crime

Former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett was charged on Tuesday in a six-count felony indictment with staging a phony hate crime, nearly a year after similar charges were abruptly dismissed by local prosecutors.

Lisa Bernhard has more.

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Actor Smollett indicted again for staging hate crime

Actor Jussie Smollett, former cast member of the Fox series "Empire," was charged again on Tuesday for falsely claiming to Chicago police that he had been the victim of a hate crime.

The six-count indictment comes nearly a year after Cook County prosecutors dropped charges against him for allegedly making the same false claim.

Smollett, who is African-American and gay, ignited a social media firestorm after he told police in January of 2019 that two masked men had thrown a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him and shouted racial and homophobic slurs, while expressing support for President Trump.

Illinois prosecutors later charged Smollett with making up the attack, saying he hired two brothers to stage it and that he falsely reported a hate crime to draw publicity to himself after becoming dissatisfied with his โ€œEmpire" salary.

But the Cook County state's attorney's office dropped the criminal charges in March, drawing anger from Chicagoโ€™s police department and then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who called it a โ€œwhitewash of justice.โ€ The new charges, announced Tuesday, come at the recommendation of a special prosecutor, who was assigned to the case after a judge ruled the state's attorney office had not properly handled it the first time around.

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