Jussie Smollett is under arrest, faces felony charges for allegedly filing false police report
Jussie Smollett is now under arrest and faces a felony charge for allegedly filing a false report about his alleged hate attack, authorities revealed.
Chicago police Chief Communications Officer, Anthony Guglielmi, confirmed in a tweet on Thursday morning that the “Empire” star is in custody of detectives.
“Jussie Smollet is under arrest and in custody of detectives,” Guglielmi announced. “At 9 am at #ChicagoPolice Headquarters, Supt Eddie Johnson, Commander of Area Central Detectives Edward Wodnicki will brief reporters on the investigation prior to the defendant’s appearance in court.”
Guglielmi confirmed earlier on Wednesday that felony criminal charges for “Disorderly Conduct/Filing a False Police Report” had been approved against Smollett, 36.
Press Briefing: Jussie Smollet is under arrest and in custody of detectives. At 9am at #ChicagoPolice Headquarters, Supt Eddie Johnson, Commander of Area Central Detectives Edward Wodnicki will brief reporters on the investigation prior to the defendants appearance in court. pic.twitter.com/9PSv8Ojec2— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 21, 2019
Tom Ahern, the deputy director of news affairs and communications for the Chicago police, also shared the news of Smollett’s arrest on Twitter on Thursday, adding that the actor’s bond hearing is scheduled for 1:30 pm CST the same day:
“UPDATE: Chicago Police Detectives take #Empire actor #JussieSmollett into custody to face Class 4 Felony charge (punishable for up to 3yrs in prison) for Disorderly Conduct in Falsifying Police report. Bond Hearing scheduled for 1:30p in Cook County Criminal Court.#ChicagoPolice”
UPDATE: Chicago Police Detectives take #Empire actor #JussieSmollett into custody to face Class 4 Felony charge (punishable for up to 3yrs in prison) for Disorderly Conduct in Falsifying Police report. Bond Hearing scheduled for 1:30p in Cook County Criminal Court.#ChicagoPolice— Tom Ahern (@TomAhernCPD) February 21, 2019
INITIAL RESPONSE TO CHARGES
Following Guglielmi’s confirmation of the charges brought against Smollett on Wednesday, the actor’s attorneys responded swiftly with a statement claiming they would be launching an “aggressive defense,” according to PEOPLE.
“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,” they said. “Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”
Smollett could get up to three years in prison if found guilty of the charges brought against him.
Jussie Smollett to Launch 'Aggressive Defense' After Being Charged with Filing False Police Report https://t.co/Ff3Lb81FxL— People (@people) February 21, 2019
THE CONTROVERSIAL ALLEGED ASSAULT
The openly gay black actor, last month, claimed he was attacked in Chicago by two masked men hurling racist and homophobic slurs. He also claimed they hung a rope around his neck and soaked him with an “unknown chemical substance.”
Smollett restated his claims in a recent interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts, his first since the alleged attack.
The initial report sparked outrage and calls for the police to identify and bring to justice the two attackers. There were also skeptics who insisted that Smollett’s story did not add up and claimed he made it all up.
QUESTIONING PERSONS OF INTEREST
The Chicago police had earlier identified two men in surveillance footage from the night of the incident, and last week, they arrested two Nigerian brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, believed to be the men from the footage.
The brothers reportedly know Smollett from working together on the set of “Empire,” a claim their attorney, Gloria Schmidt, confirmed to CBS Chicago.
The 2 brothers who told police actor Jussie Smollett paid them to stage the attack against him met with prosecutors Tuesday -- where a grand jury was also deliberating.— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) February 19, 2019
The brothers' cooperation has led investigators in the direction of Smollett himself.
Dean Reynolds reports pic.twitter.com/EgFE138oR4
RESPONSE TO STAGING CLAIMS
Smollett’s legal team responded to the development at the time, saying their client was “angered and devastated” by the claims that he “played a role in his own attack.”