An Illinois grand jury has indicted Empire actor Jussie Smollett on 16 felony charges related the alleged hate attack he reported on Jan. 29.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office confirmed with ABC7 that the 16-count indictment was returned by the grand jury on Thursday.
On Feb. 20, Smollett was charged with one felony count of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. He now faces 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report in two separate sets of charges—one set related to what he initially told police and the second set related to what he told police in a follow-up interview later the same day.
Each of the 16 charges carries with it a possible sentence of probation to four years in prison.
According to ABC7, experts predict Smollett—who turned himself in and pleaded not guilty to the original charge before posting $100,000 bond—will strike a plea deal to avoid spending time in prison.
Smollett told police that he was attacked near his Chicago apartment around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29. He said the attackers called him racist and homophobic slurs, physically attacked him, put a noose around his neck and poured a chemical substance he believed to be bleach on him.
Smollett also said his attackers told him “This is MAGA country,” referring to Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again”—a catchphrase that has since become associated with racism and hate.
Chicago police said they had two persons of interest that they were looking to speak with two days after the attack. Those persons were later identified as Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, two brothers Smollett knows.
The brothers cooperated with police, and that is when the investigation turned on Smollett and he became a suspect in the crime against him. Police allege Smollett staged the attack with help from the Osundairo brothers, and that he paid them $3,500 to carry out the fake attack.
Smollett’s character has since been removed from the final two episodes of this season of Empire.
The FBI is currently looking into a threatening letter containing white powder that Smollett received on the set of Empire. There is no proof that Smollett sent the letter to himself, but if it is later shown that he did, he could face federal charges as well.