Jussie Smollett indicted on 16 felony counts by grand jury

The reasons Smollett is facing 16 counts rather than just one count of disorderly conduct - the felony in IL that people are charged with when accused of lying to police - are not fully explained in the indictment that a grand jury returned Thursday.

A Chicago grand jury indicted Jussie Smollett, the "Empire" actor, on 16 counts for allegedly lying to police about what he described to be a hate crime attack, according to reports on March. 8.

Smollett, who was arrested last month on a criminal complaint with a single count of disorderly conduct, will be arraigned on the new charges on Thursday.

It elaborates on the allegation that he falsely reported that he was attacked on January 28 by two masked men who hurled racial and homophobic slurs at the black and openly gay actor, beat him, threw an unidentified liquid chemical on him and looped a rope tied like a noose around his neck. A second set of charges were for an interview Smollett gave to police later that day.

Each charge is said to carry a potential sentence of probation to four years behind bars. Smollett turned himself in on February 21 and was released hours later after posting $10,000 bond. Police initially investigated the case as a possible hate crime. He told police two masked men - one of them wearing a red Make America Great Again hat - shouted racist and homophobic slurs as they beat him, put a noose around his neck, and doused him with a chemical.

The 30-page indictment reveals eight felony counts for his initial story to Chicago Police and eight more counts for the story he subsequently told a detective.

Empire actor Jussie Smollett leaves Cook County jail after posting bond
Jussie Smollett has been indicted

Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Mr Smollett told at least one of the brothers that he was "dissatisfied" with his salary on the show.

Mark Geragos represents Jussie Smollett and spoke to Access about the newest updates and additional charges.

Smollett has denied any involvement in orchestrating an attack.

The actor's attorneys released a statement on Saturday, claiming "Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with".

"There was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed", the indictment against him says.

Fox, which produces "Empire", later announced that Smollett would be suspended in order to "avoid further disruption on set".