The news isn't getting any better for Jussie Smollett. A grand jury on Friday indicted the Empire actor on 16 felony counts related to his alleged staging of an attack on himself in Chicago, reports NBC News. Smollett already had been charged with one felony count of filing a false report. The new charges cover what Smollett initially told officers as well as what he said during a follow-up interview, reports ABC7 Chicago, which adds that Smollett is expected to strike a plea deal to avoid spending time in prison. Meanwhile, the fallout from the case widens. CBS Chicago reports that "dozens" of staffers at Northwestern Hospital may have been fired for improperly reviewing Smollett's medical records from the night he was brought there.
The hospital is not commenting on the TV station's report, but one unnamed nurse says she was among those fired. However, she says she merely scrolled past Smollett's medical records while looking up another patient and will contest the firing. The Chicago Police Department, meanwhile, has opened a separate investigation to try to figure out who within the department has been leaking news about Smollett to the press, reports Deadline. As for the next legal steps, Smollett's arraignment hearing is set for March 14. According to the new indictment, when he told police about the alleged attack, Smollett "knew that at the time … there was no reasonable ground for believing that such offenses had been committed,” per CBS Chicago. (Read more Jussie Smollett stories.)