Jussie Smollett, star of Fox’s Empire, could face up to three years in prison for what police are suspecting to be a staged hate crime. The actor/singer was arrested early this morning following a lengthy investigation into the incident that occurred a few weeks ago on Jan.29.
Jussie Smollett was arrested early Thursday morning for allegedly staging the hate crime he underwent last month, with many suspecting he did it to keep himself from being written out of the hit show Empire.
According to CNN, Smollett is facing a felony charge of disorderly conduct, with officials alleging that the police report he filed on January 29th was in fact falsified. Smollett claimed he was attacked by “two white men, one masked,” in the early morning of January 29th in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago.
Following the attack, Smollett received an outpouring of support from the celebrity community, including such notable members as Viola Davis and Ava DuVernay with one celebrity equating the attack to a ‘modern-day lynching.’
However, as time went on, striking inconsistencies opened up in Smollett’s story, aided by the fact that the police could not find any security camera footage of the assault.
Brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo were initially arrested February 13 but released without charges after police cited the discovery of “new evidence.”
Smollett’s attorneys released a statement last Saturday, detailing the star’s outrage at the thought of a hoax:
“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” the statement said.”
“He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”
Smollett continues to deny having anything to do with staging the attack, his attorneys allege:
“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 in a statement after Smollett’s arrest this morning.
“Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”
Up until Smollett’s arrest, 20th Century Fox Television, which produces the series Empire stated that they continue to support the actor.
“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,” the statement simply said.
A Fox spokesperson declined to comment to CNN on Wednesday.
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