Jussie Smollett // Chicago PD
As reported by NBC News, the "Empire" actor was indicted on Friday (March 8) on 16 felony counts after allegedly lying to police about the nature of the crime he initially reported.
He previously claimed he was the victim of a brutal racist and homophobic hate crime. But, the investigation led prosecutors to believe that he played a role in staging his own attack. So, the 36-year-old was arrested for allegedly falsifying a police report that he made on Jan. 29. Smollett and his attorneys have continually denied the allegations.
Last month, his legal team even issued a statement on behalf of the actor. "Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked," the statement read. "Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense."
Due to the criminal investigation into Smollett, the creators of "Empire" decided to write his character, Jamal Lyon, out of the last two episodes of the upcoming season.
On Thursday (March 7), the Chicago Police Department announced that it's launching an internal investigation into how the Smollett case was handled due to the many leaks that occurred in the media's coverage of the situation.