That story that has taken twists and turns every few hours has come to a close as “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett turned himself into police this morning and now faces criminal charges for allegedly filing a false police report and for disorderly conduct reports Variety and Vulture.
It has been a little over three weeks since Smollett claimed that he had been attacked in a Subway restaurant in Chicago by two men who beat him, tied a rope around his neck, and doused him with bleach along with shouting racist, homophobic and political slurs during the assault.
As investigations into an apparent hate crime took place, they identified two individuals of interest whom they took into custody – brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo. After consulting with their lawyer and then the men, the investigation went in a new direction – that Smollett staged the attack. The Osundairos reportedly co-operated with investigators and were released without charge. They also testified before a grand jury yesterday.
A press briefing has just taken place and a bail hearing is scheduled for 1:30pm today. Smollett’s legal issues are also mounting as the FBI is looking into whether the actor sent a threatening letter to the “Empire” studio in Chicago in the days before the attack.
At the press conference just minutes ago, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson reportedly claimed that Smollett falsified the letter and when it didn’t work staged the attack because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the series. He also adds Smollett’s injuries were “most likely self-inflicted” and that he “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career”.
He also said a greater issue here, beyond not just the waste of police resources, is that “hate crimes will now publicly be met with a level of skepticism that previously didn’t happen.”
FOX has wavered back and forth in their support of Smollett with the show’s producers now reportedly considering suspending the actor as he has been formally charged with a crime. If Smollett is found to have filed a false police report, he could face between one to three years in prison.