A Chicago judge has ordered a special prosecutor to examine the handling of actor Jussie Smollett's discredited claim he was the victim of a hate crime.
The move sets up the possibility he could be criminally charged a second time, a police spokesman said.
Former Empire actor Smollett ignited a firestorm on social media after he told police on January 29 he was attacked on a street outside his Chicago home.
He said two apparent supporters of US President Donald Trump struck him, put a noose around his neck and poured bleach over him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs.
Police later charged Smollett with filing a false police report and accused him of paying $US3500 ($A5000) to two men to stage the attack to generate public sympathy.
Prosecutors dropped the charges in March, saying an agreement by Smollett to forfeit his $US10,000 ($A14,400) bond was a just outcome.
Former Illinois appellate court judge Sheila O'Brien submitted a petition to Cook County Judge Michael Toomin requesting a special prosecutor to examine State's Attorney Kim Foxx's handling of the Smollett case, according to local media.
Toomin issued an order on Friday appointing the special prosecutor, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed.
The special prosecutor will look into the "whole investigation" and as a result Mr Smollett could face charges, Guglielmi said.
"We stand firmly behind the work of detectives in investigating the fabricated incident reported by Jussie Smollett & #ChicagoPolice will fully cooperate with the court appointed special prosecutor," Guglielmi wrote on Twitter.
Australian Associated Press