Jussie Smollett, star of the television drama “Empire,” is on trial again in Chicago.
The gay man was indicted Feb. 11 on charges of disorderly conduct and providing false information to police. The charges stem from an incident on Jan. 29, 2019.
A special prosecutor has been assigned to the case after previous charges were dropped. Smollett, 37, is accused of staging a hate crime attack on himself.
In their initial investigation, Chicago police concluded Smollett paid two men to attack him and yell homophobic and racial slurs. In orchestrating the hoax, cops said, Smollett told the men to declare “This is MAGA country!” -- a reference to President Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ theme.
After the first charges were dropped the city of Chicago, under former mayor Rahm Emanuel, sued Smollett for $130,000.
On “Empire,’” Smollett plays Jamal Lyon, a role that earned positive recognition for its portrayal of young gay black men. A series based around a black family in the music industry, “Empire” is in its sixth and final season on Fox.
After the charges were brought against him Smollett was fired from the show removed from the last two episodes of the fifth season. In season 6 he was written off the show with his character’s mother simply mentioning that he had run off to London.
Smollett came out as gay in an interview with Ellen Degeneres in 2015.