Things have gone from bad to worse for Jussie Smollett.
On Friday, the “Empire” star was indicted on 16 felony counts by a grand jury in Chicago for allegedly staging a phony racist and homophobic attack against himself.
The 36-year-old actor was originally charged with just one felony count of disorderly conduct on Feb. 20 after claiming that he was attacked in late January by two masked men. Smollet who is openly gay also claimed the men hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him and tied a noose around his neck.
“Jussie Smollett knew that at the time … there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed,” the indictment states, according to CBS Chicago.
The indictment, which expands the criminal case against the actor, centers on alleged false statements he gave to two Chicago cops. As previously reported, Smollett is accused of recruiting two men to orchestrate the attack because he was upset with his pay on the TV show, police have said.
Smollett, who has denied playing a role in the Jan. 29 incident, is scheduled to be arraigned on March 14.