Jussie Smollett indicted on 16 felony counts by grand jury

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Smollett, who claimed he was the subject of a racist and homophobic attack at the hands of two men on January 29 in Chicago, told investigators that he was attacked by two masked men "yelling out racial and homophobic slurs".

Smollett came under scrutiny over the past several weeks after he told police two men attacked him while yelling racial slurs and saying this is "MAGA country" - a reference to President Donald Trump's Make America Great Again campaign slogan.

But investigators say they managed to use a ride-sharing app to track and identify two brothers who were filmed near the scene.

Each set of charges carries a sentence ranging from probation up to four years in prison.

According to reports, a grand jury multiplied the amount of charges against Smollett on Thursday, increasing the total to 16. "The indictment expands the case against the actor".

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

Mr Smollett, who was pictured outside the courthouse after posting bail, denies the charge of felony disorderly conduct.

In February, Smollett had said in an interview with GMA's Robin Roberts, his only media interview about the alleged attack, that he believes the liquid in question was bleach. The police report connected to these charges also indicate that Smollett claimed that a noose had been placed around his neck and a "chemical" had been poured on him.

Police said Smollett staged the attacked because he was unhappy with his pay on the show.

Smollett is set to be arraigned March 14, CBS 2 reports.

Smollett, 36, who plays gay performer Jamal Lyon on the popular Fox drama, originally reported that he was attacked in Chicago by two masked assailants, who used racist and homophobic slurs.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told NBC News at the time of his arrest that the investigation into the alleged attack demanded "considerable" police resources. Witnesses told police a postal worker dropped off the letter at the Chicago studio where "Empire" is filmed.

During the investigation of the incident, several Chicago media reports said that there were doubts about Smollett's account, quoting unnamed sources.

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