Transcript for ‘Empire’ star faces new charges over reported attack
We move on to Chicago where the actor jussie smollett has just been indicted by a grand jury on 16 felony counts. The “Empire” star claimed he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. Prosecutors saying it was all staged. Now the star’s legal team is fighting back. ABC’s erielle reshef joins us this morning with the latest. Good morning, erielle. Reporter: Good morning to you, Eva. Jussie smollett had already pleaded not guilty to one felony charge but now that 16-count grand jury indictment casting uncertainty on his future. Overnight his defense attorney swinging back. This morning, mounting legal turmoil for jussie smollett indicted by a Chicago grand jury on 16 felony counts. Now facing two separate sets of charges for disorderly conduct and false police report. All stemming from smollett’s explosive claim back in January that he was viciously attacked by two masked assailants shouting homophobic and racial slurs. I’m an advocate. You do such a disservice when you lie about things like this. Who the Would make something like this up or add something to it? In a second interview smollett also telling police the suspects chanted Maga country, a reference to president trump’s make America great again slogan. And now the two brothers who claim smollett paid them to stage the assault seen in Chicago for the first time since their interrogation. Their account a seismic shift in the investigation. Authorities accusing the former “Empire” star of fabricating the entire incident. It’s not the Chicago police saying he did something, it’s the evidence, the facts and the witnesses that are saying this. Reporter: In each count of the sweeping indictment, jurors finding no reasonable ground for believing that such an offense had been committed. Smollett’s lawyer mark geragos appearing on CNN Friday night calling the indictment an outrage. I defy anybody to find any indictment anywhere where somebody has brought 16 counts for being a victim of a hate crime basically. Reporter: Smollett maintaining his innocence but his future now far from clear. I have every reason to believe that his lawyer and the district attorneys will start talking about some kind of plea bargain that will allow him to avoid any jail time. A lot of legal experts saying the same thing. If smollett is convicted those indictments each carry up to three years in prison. He has not yet entered a plea. On the latest charges. Smollett’s attorney calling the indictment vindictive and nothing more than an attempt to make headlines. Clearly doubling down on the story. Almost tripling down now through his attorney. Gehrig, of course, famous for representing Michael Jackson, Chris brown, Scott Peterson, erielle reshef,
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