Empire actor Jussie Smollett is a suspect "in a criminal investigation... for filing a false police report," according to a tweet from Chicago Police Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglieimi. See the post below via The Hollywood Reporter. The charge is a class 4 felony, and detectives are "presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury" on Wednesday.
Smollett claimed he was attacked in the early hours of January 29 in Chicago by two white men wearing Make America Great Again hats. He said the men beat him, tied a noose around his neck, and shouted "This is MAGA country" before pouring an unknown substance on him and fleeing. On February 15 two Nigerian brothers named Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo were arrested and later released without charge on February 16. Police subsequently requested a follow-up interview with Smollett two days later.
On Wednesday, CBS Chicago reporter Charlie De Mar shared surveillance video purportedly showing Ola and Abel Osundairo purchasing "a red hat and ski mask" among other items.
Smollett's attorneys have strongly denied that the actor was involved. "Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying," they said on Saturday.
Fox, the network that airs Empire stood by Smollett in a statement Tuesday denying rumors that he was being cut from the show: "Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show."