For Jussie Smollett, one story equals 16 felony counts

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For Jussie Smollett, one story equals 16 felony counts
In this Febuary 21, 2019 file photo, Empire actor Jussie Smollett leaves Cook County jail following his release in Chicago. A Cook County grand jury on Friday, March 8, 2019 has indicted Smollett on 16 felony charges after authorities say he falsely told police that he was attacked by two men in Chicago. (AP File Photo)
In this Febuary 21, 2019 file photo, Empire actor Jussie Smollett leaves Cook County jail following his release in Chicago. A Cook County grand jury on Friday, March 8, 2019 has indicted Smollett on 16 felony charges after authorities say he falsely told police that he was attacked by two men in Chicago. (AP File Photo)

CHICAGO (AP) — A grand jury’s 16-count indictment announced Friday against Jussie Smollett might be the result of prosecutors looking to charge the Empire actor for individual lies they contend he told about the night he says he was attacked by two masked men.

The reasons are not explained in the indictment, but legal experts say prosecutors sought indictments on individual details Smollett provided police after he reported being the victim of a racially charged and homophobic attack.

Former state appellate judge David Erickson says prosecutors might be trying to protect their case in the event a jury or judge doesn’t believe all of the allegations.

Prominent Chicago attorney Terry Sullivan says the 16 counts may be a signal of just how angry prosecutors and police are at Smollett.

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