Hoaxster Jussie Smollett Nailed With 16-Count Indictment in Chicago

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One of the most bizarre stories of the year so far is taking yet another turn. “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who captivated the gullible media (and not a few Democratic politicians) with his fake story of being assaulted by MAGA merchandise-wearing thugs in the streets of downtown Chicago, has been hit with a 16-count indictment by a Cook County grand jury. The charges against Smollett include felony counts of disorderly conduct stemming from the hate crime hoax the actor perpetrated on the Chicago Police Department. If convicted on all charges, the actor could be looking at a decades-long prison sentence.

According to reports that have come out since Smollett’s original police report, this was not the actor’s first attempt to generate a hoax. He was reportedly unsatisfied with the reaction he got from a fake, racist letter he arranged to be sent to the studios where his hit TV show is filmed. Once that nonsense went bust with little fanfare, Smollett upped the ante, calling on two Nigerian brothers to aid him in a fake attack. When Smollett went to police, he claimed that he was the victim of a senseless hate crime in which two men beat him, yelled homophobic and racist slurs at him, and threw a noose around his neck. He also reportedly told the cops that one of the men told him that “this is MAGA country.”

The story sounded fishy from the start, but that didn’t stop actors like Alyssa Milano and politicians like Kamala Harris from jumping to Smollett’s defense. Harris called it “a modern-day lynching,” and other leftists said it was just one more example of how much hatred President Donald Trump had stirred up in America.

After a few weeks, leaks from inside the Chicago PD began to surface and doubts about Smollett’s story began to swirl. Suddenly, the idea that two white guys were trolling the streets of (frozen) Chicago at 2:00 in the morning looking for a gay, black television star to assault stopped seeming quite so realistic. Imagine that!

Soon enough, Chicago police and Cook County prosecutors went forward with the real story, which was that Smollett had made the whole thing up and staged bits of it with his Nigerian buddies. Rumors had it that he thought he could swing a pay raise out of the public sympathy he was certain to receive. Instead, he will likely never be seen on “Empire” again.

Chances are pretty good that this will never go to trial; frankly, the 16-count indictment, while true to Smollett’s lies, seems like a case of over-prosecution. On the other hand, Chicago Police may be pushing the prosecutor’s office to make an example out of Smollett. Fake “hate crimes” have become something of a cottage industry in the age of Trump; putting a high-profile actor in prison for a while might be an effective step towards stemming the flood. Whether he does serve time or pleads out to probation, though, it’s hard to imagine a television comeback for Smollett anytime soon.