An attorney for Jussie Smollett on Friday blasted the 16-count indictment against the "Empire" actor, calling it "redundant and vindictive."
The statement from attorney Mark Geragos came after a grand jury indicted Smollett on Thursday. The actor is accused of filing a false report to the Chicago police when he alleged that he was the target of a hate crime in January.
“This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines in order to distract from the internal investigation launched to investigate the outrageous leaking of false information by the Chicago Police Department and the shameless and illegal invasion of Jussie’s privacy in tampering with his medical records,” Geragos said in a statement reported by TheWrap.
“Jussie adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption,” he added.
While discussing the charges against Smollett with "Access" in an interview released Friday, Geragos said court proceedings were going as he expected.
“This is not a newsflash. I expected it,” he said.
Smollett told police that he was the victim of a vicious January attack in which he claimed that two men tied a rope around his neck while shouting racist and homophobic slurs as well as pro-Trump language at him.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said last month that Smollett paid the two brothers $3,500 to fake an attack against him “because he was dissatisfied with his salary.”
One of the men was reportedly an extra on "Empire," while the other was reportedly Smollett's personal trainer.