Jussie Smollett indicted on 16 felony counts by grand jury
© Getty Images

"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts by a grand jury in Cook County, Illinois, on Thursday, according to court records.

ABC 7 Chicago reported Friday that the State Attorney's Office in Cook County confirmed Smollett's indictment, which was returned by a grand jury Thursday.


Smollett initially was charged with one felony count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report last month.

According to ABC 7, each charge carries a possible sentence from probation to up to four years in prison. Smollett pleaded not guilty to the disorderly conduct charge.

A spokesman for 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment told The Hill that the network and studio had no comment on the development.

Experts told ABC 7 that Smollett is likely to accept a plea deal and might not end up spending time in prison. 

Smollett originally told police he was attacked by two men, claiming they tied a rope around his neck and yelled racial slurs and pro-Trump phrases.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett paid two brothers $3,500 to fabricate the attack because he was "dissatisfied with his salary."

One brother was reportedly an extra on "Empire" while the other was reportedly Smollett's personal trainer.

—Updated at 6:27 p.m. Judy Kurtz contributed.