Jussie Smollett facing sixteen new felony counts related to filing a false police report

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Back in February, Jussie Smollett turned himself into the authorities after Chicago police got him indicted on one felony count of filing a false police report. The theory of the crime and the motive behind have changed a few times. At this point, the Chicago PD believe that Jussie completely stage-managed his “assault” in the dead of winter, in the dead of night. They believe he paid two brothers to fake-attack him, and they believe Smollett did it for some kind of financial or career benefit. I get that the police don’t need to lock down a motive to get any convictions, but the attempts to explain Jussie’s motive still don’t make much sense to me. In any case, it looks like Jussie will face more charges. SIXTEEN more charges.

Jussie Smollett is now facing deeper legal troubles after a grand jury returned 16 felony 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 specific allegations–“false report of offense”– 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. CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said Smollett, if convicted could face probation to up to three years in prison.

“[The grand jury] decided he told multiple lies,” Miller said. “There were going to charge him for each. If you have a crime, and that crime has multiple parts to it, you charge all those separate parts.”

[From CBS Chicago]

Coming on the heels of the light Paul Manafort sentencing, it just underlines a point that I think we all know by now: rich white guys get to play by one set of rules, and people of color are forced to play by another set of rules. Even if the Chicago PD’s investigation is completely accurate (which, doubtful), then 16 felony counts seems WAY overboard. Like, R. Kelly hasn’t even been charged with 16 felonies (yet). Smollett’s lawyer Mark Geragos released a statement:

“The fact of an indictment was not unexpected. We knew that there is no way they would expose their evidence to a public airing and subject their witnesses to cross-examination,” Geragos said. “What is unexpected, however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts against Jussie. This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines in order to distract from the internal investigation launched to investigate the outrageous leaking of false information by the Chicago Police Department and the shameless and illegal invasion of Jussie’s privacy in tampering with his medical records. Jussie adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption.”

[From People]

It’s true that the Chicago police department leaked like crazy throughout the investigation, even from the first day. There’s now an investigation into the leaks – an internal investigation which will probably never be made public. Sigh…

Jussie Smollett's Mugshot

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and Backgrid.

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77 Responses to “Jussie Smollett facing sixteen new felony counts related to filing a false police report”

  1. Booradley says:

    Le sigh, indeed

  2. Michael says:

    I wonder if any of those BBQ Beckys faced 16 felony charges? “Justice” sure is quick when a POC is in the wrong.

  3. Enn says:

    Racist AF and unsurprising.

    • Shane says:

      It’s racist to charge someone with crimes? I guess they should NOT charge or give him a break because he’s black? You could argue that this is overkill, but the man staged a hate crime in order to rile up the white vs black communities and place blame on the MAGA movement and he’s being held responsible.

      • Mariposa says:

        ITA Shane, he did a really despicable thing, which will hurt minority victims going forward, because who will believe their stories now?? I saw a Facebook thread the other day where a woman said she couldn’t believe Michael Jackson’s accusers because she believed Jussie Smollett and his story was a lie!! He deserves to have the book thrown at him.

        Now, I don’t think he’ll do jail, probably community service and that’s OK.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        This cult never needed Jussie Smollet to make it look bad, Shane. I doubt Enn was trying to say there should be no punishment at all.

  4. Salvation says:

    And I’m sure Jussie will get a min of 15 years to life for comitting such a despicable heinous crime. Meanwhile, Paul Manafort walked on treason, fraud and money laundering convictions. Go figure.

    • Raina says:

      I’m remembering that Affluenza remoreseless bitch who actually got away with MURDER.
      So yeah.

    • Sue Denim says:

      And working to prop up dictators at home and abroad throughout. Just absolutely disgusting…

    • otaku fairy... says:

      15 years would be over the top for sure. Not that that means what’s been done isn’t wrong and absolutely deserving of serious consequences. Got to put that disclaimer in, because there are some who don’t seem to know the difference between excusing wrongdoing and saying the reaction to a particular wrongdoing is over the top.

    • isabelle says:

      Rich men will be protected. ALWAYS. Money always wins in the longrun when it comes to the system.

  5. Deanne says:

    16 felonies? What he did was wrong but hasn’t he led a pretty “blameless” life prior to this mistake?It wasn’t like he committed tax fraud and money laundered. Oh right, rich, white people get away with that too. There really two different systems of justice and it’s horrifying. I saw something about how some 12 year old kid yodelled in Walmart without permission and ended up on the Ellen show, was invited to perform on the Grand Ole Opry and now has a record deal, while a 12 year old aspiring rapper in Atlanta, tried to sell his cd’s at a mall and was violently arrested and is now facing a felony. Can you guess which kid was black and which kid was white? This seems like extreme overkill. What he did was wrong, but all of the white psychos who call the police to report POC for gardening in their own yard, accidentally touching them with a backpack, bbqing in a public park, taking photos in a park, etc, etc, etc, get away with nothing but a few days of social media outrage. Yes, some have lost their jobs, but so has Jussie. They are lying and wasting police time and they don’t get charged with anything let alone a felony.

    • susannej says:

      He was really, really stupid …. I get it. But what I can not understand why his whole life seems to be finished now.

      Not fair

      • Megan says:

        The punishment for stupid, victimless crimes is typically community service. If he were white he’d already be planting flowers and clipping shrubs in Chicago parks along side the other nonviolent white offenders.

      • Raina says:

        At this point his life is so tarnished that it’s punishment enough.

      • Jadedone says:

        His whole life is ruined because of him. He made a decision to deceive us all and as a result he will struggle to get his career back. I have no sympathy for him, he made it harder for every real victim out there. He is the only one to blame for where he is now.

      • Deanne says:

        No it isn’t fair and there has to be a reason behind what he did. Really it was like a call for help in some way. I am angry at him for adding to the excuses people use to not believe all of the many real victims, but 16 felonies? Paul Manafort committed treason and gets less time than a woman who voted illegally. What about community service, working with LGTBQ youth? If he’s convicted, I have no doubt he’ll spend more time in prison than any of the pieces of garbage with ties to Russia and fraud convictions.

      • lucy2 says:

        I hope that’s what he gets, Megan. Community service, and to pay all court fees and fines. I’m super disgusted by what he did and really don’t want to see any more of him once this is done, but I don’t know what putting him in jail would do.

        I think the bigger problem is going to be the threatening letter, because the FBI got involved with that.

    • S says:

      Exactly. If the facts as currently presented are accurate—i.e. that it was a planned hoax, organized by Smollett—then he’s despicable and probably damaged, since this isn’t even a slightly logical act. But 16 felony counts is not just over-the-top, it’s a travesty of anything resembling justice. It’s beyond punitive and, clearly and obviously, racially motivated.

      What Smollet (allegedly) did was wrong, and harmful, particularly to his own reputation, but also to genuine victims of hate crimes. There should absolutely be consequences both legal and personal for that, and financial restitution for the time and expense he caused the department seems more than valid. But, vastly over-charging—most multiple homicide case don’t involve 16 felony charges—is trying to solve one bad act, by perpetrating another.

    • isabelle says:

      They want to make an example of him. He is the biggest celeb to have attempted a fake hate crime. Other people have been doing up to this point in recent years with little media fare but he is a big fish. They will make an example of him as to not fake a hate crime.

  6. PlayItAgain says:

    Was Manafort’s sentence absurdly inadequate? Of course it was. Sucker should have gotten at least ten years. His story isn’t over, though.

    I think Smollet’s 16 counts is more a reflection of his celebrity than his race. I don’t care what color he is—it was WRONG to stage an attack, diminishing real victims, and using police resources for false purposes simply because he wanted attention to achieve personal gain. He’s an asshole. Most of those counts will end up being dismissed, so let’s wait and see what happens.

    • Jen says:


      You can disagree with Manafort’s sentence without thinking Jussie is being treated too harshly.

    • Esmom says:

      Eh, I think you’re giving Chicago and the CPD too much credit to say this isn’t a reflection of his race. In fact I have a friend who has worked at the criminal courthouse at 26th and California for 25 years and all the time she spends in the presence of law enforcement has warped her views and turned her into a full on Trumpster who thinks if you support justice for victims of color like Laquan McDonald that means you are “anti-cop.” No gray area for these people. The racism is generational and deeply entrenched.

      • Nichole says:

        My MIL plays the anti-cop card frequently too and I’ve had to hide all of her Facebook posts and learn not to discuss news with her in person. It’s hard. For the past few years I’ve relied on Ativan when she visits, but I’m trying to break away from that. Literally biting my tongue.

    • Cindy says:

      100% this!

      Stop viewing crimes through the lens of other crimes.

      This guy decided to exploit everything that is dividing our country right now. It is the wrong starting point for any commentary on police, race relations, etc.

    • Yes Doubtful says:

      I think 16 counts is a bit much, but yes, he is a total asshole. He is still not owning up to his mistake.

  7. Gigi La Moore says:


    • notthisagain says:

      Yep No excuse for what he did but they are going to make an example out of himk even though he lived an otherwise ” blameless life ”
      A deflection for the actual racism + other bigoted crimes that DO take place in this country unabated

      NB:In the news this morning a young white girl is getting off with just probation after killing THREE people with her car , apparently not totally her fault no drinking, road dark etc but STILL I challenge you to find a similar case where aPOC gets off with the same circumstances

  8. B n A fan says:

    So, Lee Daniels wrote on instagram on January 10th that his gay cousin was beaten up because he is gay. On January 17th someone mailed a letter to the Empire Office addressed to Jussie threatening him. On January 28-29 Jussie was beaten up, wink, wink, by 2 brothers. Anyone following the dots? Btw, JS would be a fool not to plea to a lesser offense to stay out of jail, do a few years of probation and try to put this behind him.

    The superintendent of police said they has the ping of the “cell phones” at the post office where the threatening letter was mailed. The Post Office know where the letter was mailed.

    • Milkweed says:

      This is what I think too! Empire was involved.

      • Anna says:

        I’ve thought this since the beginning. The show is losing ratings and set him up to take a fall, knowing full well that Chicago police are as corrupt and corruptible as they come and he would never receive a fair trial in this city.

    • holly hobby says:

      Don’t forget the check he wrote the brothers. He’s not very bright about covering his tracks. Also those count mean nothing, he can either plea them away or if it goes to trial, only a few would hold up. When they file charges they usually throw everything in. I doubt everything will stick when all is said and done.

      He can recover from this but I doubt his career can.

  9. Canber says:

    Fukk this guy. I hope he rots in prison.

    • Esmom says:

      I think Smollett should face consequences and he’s already dug his own grave, careerwise, so hoping that he “rots in prison” seems a bit excessive. I feel like we have far more serious crimes to worry about, especially among people at the highest levels power, to worry about these days.

      • Kitten says:

        Seriously. It kind of blows my mind that people on this thread are actually making the argument for LONGER prison sentences. Manafort’s wasn’t long enough (it wasn’t) and Jussie should get the book thrown at him? NO. We have a problem in this country with crowded prisons and people languishing in jail while they await trial. Many of these people are low-level offenders who simply cannot afford bail. All of this, despite the fact that crime rates have been on a steady decline.

        Americans are so f*cked up with their fetishization of the prison industrial complex and their penchant for dehumanizing the prison/jail population. Locking people up and throwing away the key is maybe the most immoral and ineffective solution to address the myriad of reasons why someone may commit a crime.

        ETA: To be clear, I’m speaking specifically about low-level offenders who primarily account for the ever-increasing prison population, thanks to LONG mandatory minimum sentences.

      • Megan says:

        Think of how much potential America wastes by locking up people, particularly young men of color. They could be scientists, doctors, artists, educators, etc. if they were given the second chance everyone deserves.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        Some of the usernames are a little unusual, so that might account for some of the ‘let him rot!’ sentiments. Some are fired up about the Jussie Smollet situation in the wrong kind of way.

      • CA Family Code says:

        Nothing will come of putting him in prison for a lengthy sentence. The reason for the excessive/redundant charges is to ensure that he does time, but I doubt it will be much time. There is an opportunity here for justice to be served and for Jussie to redeem himself…if he is guilty of this crime, give him six months of community service to be served over 5 years and 5 years probation. The community service has to benefit victims of violent crimes and he has to undergo 2 years of counseling. This deal is much harder than sitting in a jail cell and would allow him to become a better person and redeem himself. It would also be contingent upon Jussie admitting his crime publicly and would be expunged upon completion of the CS, counseling and probation so that he would not have a record. He will need to be able to find work and a record can hinder this. Admitting fault is how one changes. It sets one free. We would be able to forgive him this way as well. (BTW – in California he would not do any time to speak of)

      • Kitten says:

        @ Megan- Exactly. These people are human beings FFS not worthless trash.

        @Otaku-I was wondering the same thing about the comments..

        @CA Family Code-YES. Finally someone with a thoughful, cohesive and FAIR plan for punishment. Thank you.

      • Canber says:

        otaku fairy and the other one – what exactly were you wondering about? Spell it out.

      • CK says:

        I mean it’s pretty clear why some of these folks are excessive and it’s not because of some deference to crime and punishment given that they’ve convicted him without a trial while also finding the time to bash the people that offered sympathies when it seemed like he was the victim of an actual crime. Bigots, racists, snowflakes, trumpkins, take your pick. They’ve latch on to this story like wildfire and would execute the guy if they could.

      • Canber says:

        And I hope Smollett is made into an example, precisely because of that. We’re facing a decade or more of an acute spike in hate crimes, according to the FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center. The issue cannot be corrupted by idiots like this guy.

    • Lara says:

      Thank you. People are now being overly sympathetic and making excuses for him. Gross.

      • Bailie says:

        I’m truly disgusted by his on-going denial.
        At least, if he would just admit to his horrible mistake, apologize to the police and the public, who supported him like myself, pay for all the costs of the resources that CPD used to investigate this hoax crime he put on and for the grand jury costs, I would be willing to say : okay, at least he acknowledged it and he is trying to make amends, but no he will drag it into court and make taxpayers pay more for this BS.
        There is no dollar value on how much damage he has caused to those that will either not be willing to come forward in regards to reporting crime that was committed against them or they will not be believed, because of him.
        It seems that Jussie doesn’t have much of a character, years ago he was stopped for DUI and lied to the police, giving his younger brother’s name.
        What a scumbag.
        Paul Manafort got off very, very, very lightly last week, I wish he would have gotten 24 year prison sentence, but Jussie also deserves time in prison.
        It might teach him to be less self involved, less cocky and smug, he is a 35 year old man and not a 16 year old kid, it’s time for a humility lesson!

  10. Mrs. Peel says:

    Community service and a fine would suffice – no need for a jail sentence.

    • Skylark says:

      It was a monumentally stupid, irresponsible thing to do and he deserves all the criticism that’s come his way because of it but I agree that the ^ above would be a more than adequate outcome, with maybe a year’s probation thrown in. But jail? No.

      Have to say, I’m more than a little intrigued to see that he’s still professing his innocence… Be interesting to see how that pans out.

    • Erinn says:

      I think a giant fine and probation or community service would suffice. One thing I find really troubling is the amount of resources wasted here. And just how DEEP his lies went. I mean – it’s bad enough that he filed a false police report. But he drug other people into it, he sent himself, or had one of the brothers send him hate mail. He made this a HUGE public fiasco.

      Part of me doesn’t mind an example being made of him, but I still think jail is a bit much. House arrest maybe?

    • Harryg says:

      Agree, jail will not help anyone, but community service will.

    • Anna says:

      “Making an example” will not work because it doesn’t matter to MAGA fools regardless. Who will it make a difference to, to put him in prison? He made a mistake, at best. We still don’t know the truth and probably never will since the Chicago police are involved. “Truth” is not something they are known for. I wish people in this country (I mean, white people since BW have gone above and beyond trying to save this damn nation which gives no shits about them) gave as much of a shit about justice in other areas but no, we have to take down Jussie. smdh How about do something to change systemic racism and your part in it? Seriously, one instance will not make a difference to MAGA but I’m sure white folks will feel good about him going to prison as with all the other (usually wrongfully) accused Black men, most of whom are in prison for smallest offenses related to prison industrial complex. Don’t pretend you don’t know what’s going on.

  11. Veronica S. says:

    He made them look the fool, so they’re going to punish him excessively every step of the way. The police state in action, y’all.

    • LadyT says:

      The individuals that serve on the grand jury that returned these indictments are people exactly like you and me.

      • Veronica S. says:

        And they are subject to the same racial biases and influence of a country that promotes prison as vengeance rather than rehabilitation as you and me, too. One only has to look at the comments on any police regarding brutality article to see how often citizens tacitly support a militarized police state.

        What Smollett did was wrong, but too often Americans treat their justice system as a battering ram for perceived evil rather than a form of rehabilitative punishment. There’s a reason we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Worried about resources? Try looking at the billions of taxpayer dollars that go into the prison industrial complex.

    • Anna says:

      Thank you @Veronica This is the absolute truth

  12. Beth says:

    I never even heard of Jussie until this happened, and it looks like his foolish mistakes have destroyed his career and his life will never be the same. I wish Jussie had thought everything over and noticed how obvious it was to see the story was complete BS.
    It sucks that white guy, white collar criminals like Manafort don’t end up spending time in prison like they deserve to

  13. Talie says:

    It’s overkill, but I’m not interested in throwing a pity party for him.

    Anyway, we all know he will plea his way out because he, too, has a very expensive attorney. He’ll pay some sort of fine or do community service. End of story.

    • Mellie says:

      Agree on the overkill, and not much sympathy from me either. He was not really a stellar human being before (remember the DUI and using his sibling’s I.D.?!).
      He has the money to take care of this situation.
      Let’s instead feel for those who don’t have his status or dollars to help them out of truly helpless situations.

    • jules says:

      It’s crazy how the opinion here on him keeps swaying from one extreme to the other. I have no sympathy. He was seeking attention and deserves no more press.

    • Pinetree13 says:

      I agree he’ll get under a year for sure probably much less. Meh he made his bed and I don’t have a lot of sympathy because I’m still mad I believed him and defended him so now he can’t rot for all I care. He’s rich, he won’t serve years in prison. He’ll get out and still have money and can work a low key acting coach job or whatever washed up actors do

  14. Karen2 says:

    They just want him to plead guilty to save time & trouble. He aint going to jail its Chi.

  15. everlyB says:

    They’re going over board because he still insists he is innocent although we know he lied. The whataboutism is annoying, yes I get life is unfair but he brought it upon himself for no reason. He’ll go to prison for one year and probabation so everybody relax.

  16. BuddyJack says:

    I was appalled at the Manafort sentence. A gross miscarriage of justice. I am hoping that when he faces Judge Jackson in federal court in DC on the Mueller specific charges she adds the full 10 years. I will still not be satisfied with that but I’ll feel better if that happens.

    And I hope Jussie Smollett gets a serious sentence thrown at him too. They aren’t in competition for my distain, I have plenty for the both of them.

    • holly hobby says:

      What people don’t seem to understand here but it was explained perfectly by the legal eagles on Twitter that he has another case in Virginia and the sentence aren’t concurrent but one after the other < that was a good tactical move on Mueller's part. The prosecution had the option of calling in concurrent or consecutive.

      Indications are Judge Jackson of Virginia will not be giving him an easy time. He could still be on the hook for prison his entire natural life.

      Sorry I have to clarify this because it's just not true he's walking in 40+ months.

      • BuddyJack says:


        Yes that’s why I said “adds” the full 10 years……..it ain’t over for Manafort and I’m still Team Mueller

  17. Audrey says:

    I agree, he’ll most likely get probation and community service. The public disgrace is probably going to be his most painful punishment.

  18. Alissa says:

    I think it might be overkill and think Manafort’s sentence was WAYYYY too light, but I’m not mad or claiming racism over this. He cost quite a bit of money in investigations, made everyone look foolish (those who immediately believed, and the police), and made it that much harder for victims of rape and hate crimes to come forward and be believed. He can spend some time in jail and that is just fine with me.

  19. me says:

    What about the two brothers that helped him? No punishment for them? I guess because they came clean they will walk free?

    • Beth says:

      I think they should get some kind of punishment

    • Veronica S. says:

      What did they really do that was technically illegal, though? A man paid them to attack with his consent, so they did so. Unless they lied to police, the fact that he tried to pull them into conspiracy is not their problem.

    • LadyT says:

      That’s right. Jussie’s indictments are for lying to police and filing false reports. The brothers did neither.

  20. Jay says:

    Typical overcharging by Cook county SAO. All 16 felony counts are Class 4s, exposing him to 1-4 years each in prison, to be served with day for day credit at the discretion of IDOC (meaning if he gets 1 year it’ll be 6 months), and all run concurrent (meaning if he gets one year on each, he will serve 6 months, not 8 years like he would if it was consecutive). Additionally, they’re all probationable. If he shocked if he did any prison time and if I were his attorney and was pursuing negotiations (in addition to trial, which we always prepare for), I’d be looking to have it dealt down to a misdemeanor if we were to even consider a plea.

  21. CK says:

    I hate overcharging because in the end, it’s just prosecutors twisting arms in an attempt to get someone to plea down and avoid an actual trial by jury. Jussie has an expensive lawyer, but the people that this tactic is typically used on end up having to plea without guilt/innocence being determined or risk what is essentially a life sentence often for the accusation of minor crimes.

    That being said, given that the Brothers have just stated on the record that the check, which the CPD said in a highly publicized press conference was payment for the crime, was actually payment for personal training, I don’t see him spending a day in jail if they don’t have a better smoking jail. The prosecutor isn’t going to get the jury makeup that will convict him with the way the CPD has handled this mess.

  22. jay says:

    You can see the tiers of what America values in these cases. If the victims of crimes are minorities or women, the charges don’t stick. If the perpetrators of crimes are minorities or women, the book is thrown at them. If the perpetrators are while and male, did crime even happen? If the victims of crime are white and male or property, you better believe all hell will break loose.

  23. Sheigh says:

    16! Ridiculous and exaggerated!

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