"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted by a Chicago grand jury on 16 felony counts after allegedly filing a false police report about being the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime.
The 36-year-old actor was charged last month with felony disorderly conduct for the report he made with Chicago police on January 29.
Smollett, who is gay, claimed he was assaulted by two masked men who hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him. An investigation led to two men whom police now allege were paid to stage the attack.
The actor and his representatives have denied the allegations against him.
While his fellow cast and crew at "Empire" initially stood by him, the actor and his character, Jamal, have since been dropped from the Fox TV series.
"The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us," read the February 22 statement from "Empire" co-creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong and the show's producers.
"Jussie has been an important member of our 'Empire' family for the past five years and we care about him deeply," the statement continued. "While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out. We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of Jamal from the final two episodes of the season."
His next court date has been set for Thursday, March 14 at 11:30 a.m., according to The Wrap.
[Via NBC News, The Wrap]