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Jussie Smollett Facing 6 New Counts for Allegedly Faking Attack

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CHICAGO (TMZ) — Jussie Smollett is facing felony charges in Chicago again — the special prosecutor just announced an indictment against the actor for the alleged homophobic attack against him last year.

A grand jury handed up the new indictment against Jussie. Dan Webb was appointed special prosecutor for the case last summer. We’re told he’s now facing 6 felony counts for lying to law enforcement. The indictment calls the 6 charges “disorderly conduct,” but all 6 involve allegations of lying to cops.

This effectively re-opens the controversial case that led to Smollett getting fired from “Empire.”

Special Prosecutor Webb says Jussie “planned and participated in a staged hate crime attack, and thereafter made numerous false statements to Chicago Police Dept. officers.”

Webb adds the new charges — pared down from 16 to 6 — were re-filed “in the interest of justice.” Webb was critical of the State’s Attorney who dismissed the case, saying Kim Foxx’s office had no additional evidence from what the Grand Jury had when they indicted Smollett in the first place, so the dismissal made no sense.

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Jussie and his attorneys had staged a legal battle against the special prosecutor, saying it would expose him to double jeopardy. That effort was shot down in court. You’ll recall Cook County prosecutors dropped all 16 felony counts against Smollett in March 2019 … calling it a “just disposition and appropriate resolution,” but not an exoneration.

That decision pissed off Chicago law enforcement — and in August, Webb was appointed special prosecutor to investigate how the case was handled, and if there was any reason to renew charges.

A source connected to Jussie tells us, “The officers who re-investigated the case are the same ones who originally investigated it. These officers are currently being sued by Smollett. They have also spent taxpayer money on having these officers go to Los Angeles and harass members of Smollett’s team and friends.”

We’re told Jussie still maintains his innocence, and finds the timing of the indictment interesting — because Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx is up for re-election next month. He plans to plead not guilty.

Jussie will be arraigned February 24. We’re told he faces up to 3 years in state prison if convicted.

You’ll recall, Jussie claimed he was attacked on a frigid night in Chicago by 2 white men who put a rope around his neck and doused him with bleach while yelling racial and homophobic slurs.

However, 2 black men — brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo — were eventually detained, and told police Jussie paid them to stage the whole attack.

After the new indictment, the Osundairos’ attorney, Gloria Schmidt, says they remain “fully committed to the public knowing the truth” about the so-called attack — and will cooperate with the investigation. However, they did not testify before the new grand jury. Instead, the panel relied on the brothers’ previous testimony.

Jussie’s attorney, Tina Glandian, is also questioning the timing of the indictment, saying, “the attempt to re-prosecute Mr. Smollett one year later on the eve of the Cook County State’s Attorney election is clearly all about politics not justice.”

She also says …  “After more than five months of investigation, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has not found any evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever related to the dismissal of the charges against Mr. Smollett. Rather, the charges were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence.”

Foxx’s campaign is calling out the timing of the special prosecutor’s announcement saying, “What’s questionable here is the James Comey-like timing of that charging decision, just 35 days before an election, which can only be interpreted as the further politicization of the judicial system, something voters in the era of Donald Trump should consider offensive.”

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

TMZ refers to to a studio-established “thirty mile zone” to monitor rules for filming in Hollywood. The center of the zone was the offices of The Association of Motion Pictures and Television Producers, formerly at Beverly and La Cienega Boulevard. Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check https://www.tmz.com/shows/ for syndicated/local listings at the bottom of the page)

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Joe Exotic Prison Has 2nd Highest ‘Rona Rate

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Joe Exotic Prison Has 2nd Highest 'Rona Rate

FORT WORTH (TMZ) — The prison Joe Exotic is currently being held at is the second leading hotbed for coronavirus in the entire federal prison system — but not to worry … Uncle Sam’s got a plan.

The ‘Tiger King’ star has been locked up at FMC Forth Worth in Texas, and as of Tuesday … there was a total of 298 confirmed COVID-19 cases among inmates, making it number 2 behind a federal CA facility at 570 inmate cases.

If that sounds troubling, it should … we’ve seen jails and prisons across the U.S. getting besieged with the virus — and some of the inmates are suffering. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has assured us they’re going above and beyond for their prisoners, staff and visitors alike at Joe’s facility to keep them safe and healthy.

As for Joe … his people have repeatedly told us … he’s virus-free.

The agency tells TMZ there’s a comprehensive action plan in place at all of their institutions — which includes reducing inmate transfers, increasing screening and testing, minimizing unnecessary movement on the inside and temporarily canceling social and legal visits, not to mention training for BOP employees. They will also do regular temperature checks.

The trick is … as little congregating as possible. BOP says it’s trying to keep guards at one post for as long as possible to avoid unnecessary interaction.

BOP also tells us they’ve made sure everyone — prisoners and staffers — have received surgical masks. BOP says it has things under control — so far fewer than 5 deaths at the Fort Worth facility … but with nearly 300 cases, it’s gotta be viewed as a full-fledged outbreak.

So … guess that means Joe’s in good hands??? Here’s hoping so.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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Anderson Cooper Reveals He’s a Dad, Welcomes New Baby Boy

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Anderson Cooper Reveals He's a Dad, Welcomes New Baby Boy

NEW YORK CITY (TMZ) — Anderson Cooper is the proud new father of a baby boy … revealing Wyatt Morgan Cooper to the world.

The CNN anchor took to Instagram Thursday night to reveal earlier this week Wyatt was born via surrogate. Cooper said, “As a gay kid, I never thought it would be possible to have a child, and I’m grateful for all those who have paved the way, and for the doctors and nurses and everyone involved in my son’s birth.”

As for Wyatt’s name, 52-year-old says it’s in honor of his dad, who passed away when he was just 10, saying, “I hope I can be as good a dad as he was.”

Anderson also shared a sweet message about his surrogate, saying, “Most of all, I am grateful to a remarkable surrogate who carried Wyatt, and watched over him lovingly, and tenderly, and gave birth to him. It is an extraordinary blessing – what she, and all surrogates give to families who cant have children.”

Finally, Anderson says, “I do wish my mom and dad and my brother, Carter, were alive to meet Wyatt, but I like to believe they can see him. I imagine them all together, arms around each other, smiling and laughing, happy to know that their love is alive in me and in Wyatt, and that our family continues.” His mother, Gloria Vanderbilt died last year.

Wyatt is Anderson’s first child … Congrats!!

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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Madonna: I Have Antibodies … Gonna Breathe in COVID-19 Air

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Madonna: I Have Antibodies ... Gonna Breathe in COVID-19 Air

Madonna has revealed — via her “Quarantine Diary” — that she’s tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, and already has a bizarre plan for using them.

The Material Girl’s known for posting some eccentric material on her Instagram, but she’s kicked things up a notch during lockdown … the latest being heading outside to “breathe in the COVID-19 air.”

Yep, Madge says now that she knows she has the antibodies, she’s going out for a drive and rolling down the windows. She included the hashtags #staysafe #staysane with her video post.

It’s unclear exactly what M hopes to accomplish by sucking in virus air on her drive, but if she truly has antibodies it means she likely already had the coronavirus. Most scientists agree she should have some COVID-19 immunity, but it’s unclear for how long.

Madonna’s been doing her part in coronavirus relief efforts — both by donating a million dollars and joining the REFORM Alliance in sending 100,000 surgical masks to jails and prisons.

She’s throwing caution to the wind, though, with her own health.

Hey, she’s got a pocket full o’ antibodies and she’s gonna spend ’em!!!

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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