The Empire star had said he was subjected to a homophobic and racist physical attack by two men in January.
Doubt was later cast on his account after US media reported that police believed he may have paid two Nigerian brothers, Ola and Abel Osundario to stage the attack.
Jussie Smollett has officially been charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report claiming he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack last month.
Case Update: Jussie Smollett is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by #ChicagoPolice for filing a false police report (Class 4 felony). Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury. pic.twitter.com/FhDcbBKsuU
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 20, 2019
In a statement on Twitter, Chicago Police Department chief communication officer Anthony Guglielmi stated that the actor has been named a suspect in a criminal investigation.
“Felony criminal charges have been approved by @CookCountySAO against Jussie Smollett for Disorderly Conduct / Filing a False Police Report,” wrote Anthony Guglielmi. “Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest.”
Felony criminal charges have been approved by @CookCountySAO against Jussie Smollett for Disorderly Conduct / Filing a False Police Report. Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest. pic.twitter.com/LvBSYE2kVj
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 21, 2019
Smollett’s alleged attack happened in the early hours of Sunday, January 29. Smollett claimed he was approached by two men wearing ski masks who yelled racist and homophobic slurs at the actor. They then put a noose around his neck and proceeded to punch him, before pouring a chemical substance on him.
According to police, the men were yelling “This is MAGA country”, in reference to Donald Trump’s presidential slogan “Make America Great Again”
Earlier on Wednesday, CBS Chicago obtained footage which appeared to show the two brothers buying materials, including ski masks, that had allegedly been worn by the actor’s attackers.
I tracked down surveillance of the Osundairo's buying supplies before "attack"
Sources say Jussie Smollet told brothers what to buy.
Countless phone calls placed for this.
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 20, 2019
The brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, left the US after the alleged attack and were arrested on their return last week. They were later released and are said to be co-operating with the investigation.
One of the brothers is Smollett’s personal trainer and both have worked as extras on Empire.
Smollett has faced myriad rumours that he was somehow involved with the attack and has denied each hoax claim that comes forward. 20th Century Fox has likewise stood by Smollett in a statement when rumours emerged that he was being written off Empire.
Detectives are negotiating a “reasonable surrender” for Smollet with his lawyers. The actor is expected in court this afternoon in Chicago.
Mr Smollett’s lawyers said they would “conduct a thorough investigation and mount an aggressive defence”
The actor’s camp responded to the indictment by highlighting the constant leaks of both true and false information related to the investigation.
“Like any other citizen, Mr Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked,” the statement that was signed by his lawyers read. “Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defence.”
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