Jussie Smollett Indicted on 16 Felony Counts

Bond Hearing Held For Actor Jussie Smollett After Disorderly Conduct Charge

Empire star Jussie Smollett has been indicted on 16 felony charges by a grand jury, as an investigation continues into who leaked information to the media.

It is reported that the jury returned two separate sets of charges with the first stemming from Smollett's report to officers regarding his alleged attack.

The indictment charges Smollett with 16 counts of disorderly conduct.

Jussie said he had been attacked by two masked men in downtown Chicago on January 29, telling police his attackers shouted racist and homophobic abuse and tied a noose around his neck.

Each charge is said to carry a potential sentence of probation to four years behind bars.

Smollett was charged last month with felony disorderly conduct for the allegedly false report he made with Chicago police.

Smollett has remained free on $100,000 bond since his release hours after surrendering to authorities on February 21.

"He took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career", Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters the day Smollett was initially charged. The grand jury also reportedly accused Smollett of falsifying a crime.

Prosecutors also alleged that Smollett told the brothers what to say and provided them with a $100 bill to cover supplies, including rope, ski masks and red hats that resemble the MAGA sort. He is set to appear in court on March 14 where he will enter a plea and a judge will be assigned to the case.

Fox and representatives for Smollett did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's requests for comment.

"Jussie Smollett knew that at the time of this transmission there was no reasonable ground for believing that such an offense had been committed", the indictment states.

The shift in the investigation came amid often bitter public debate and stinging skepticism on social media - doubts that Smollett addressed in a national TV interview and in a strongly worded statement after the brothers were released from custody after questioning by police. Police claim Smollett orchestrated the attack due to disgruntlement with his Empire paycheck; the actor has denied those accusations.

On Feb. 22, the television show "Empire" said Smollett would be written out of the last two episodes of the season, which still had yet to be filmed.

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