Jussie Smollett, the actor who was reportedly attacked, has been charged with Disorderly Conduct and filing a false police report.
The Chicago Police Departments Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi announced on Twitter that the actor is now a “suspect” in the criminal investigation. This shift is “for filing a false police report (Class 4 felony). Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.”
The State Attorney’s Office in Cook County approved the charges of Disorderly Conduct and Filing a False Police Report against Smollett, which is a class 4 felony. Guglielmi tweeted out, “Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest.”
Smollett’s attorneys said, “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. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense”.
Before this, on February 13, police arrested two brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo at the Chicago Airport in connection with the attack. However, they were later released on Friday without charge and are no longer suspects in the case.
On February 15, Guglielmi released the two individuals with the statement, “Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete”. One of the brothers played a small role in an Empire episode and Smollett follows both on Instagram.
He also told E!, “We can confirm that the information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the Empire case has, in fact, shifted the trajectory of the investigation. We’ve reached out to the Empire cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview.”
Smollett continues to deny allegations that he staged the attacks himself. While speaking in Los Angeles a few days after, he said, “I am not fully healed yet, but I’m going to, and I’m gonna stand strong with ya’ll. I am not fully healed yet, but I’m going to, and I’m gonna stand strong with ya’ll. So I will always stand for love. I will never stand for anything other than that. Regardless of what anyone else says, I will only stand for love and I hope that you all stand with me.”
While on Good Morning America, he said, “It’s the attackers, but it’s also the attacks. You know, at first it was a thing of, if I tell the truth, that’s it, because it’s the truth. Then it became a thing of like, oh, how can you doubt that? How do you not believe that? It’s the truth. And then it became a thing of, oh, it’s not necessarily that you don’t believe that this is the truth, you don’t even want to see the truth.”
In a later interview, he again said, “There’s a level of pride there. We live in a society where, as a gay man, you are considered somehow, to be weak, and I’m not weak. I am not weak. And we, as a people, are not weak.”
According to CBS, Smollett paid the brothers $3500 to orchestrate the attack. Another $500 once it was completed because he was being written off of Empire. Fox told E!, “The idea that Jussie Smollett has been, or would be, written off of Empire is patently ridiculous.”
Smollett’s lawyers said on Saturday, “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. 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.”
They added, “One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video. It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity. Jussie and his attorneys anticipate being further updated by the Chicago Police Department on the status of the investigation and will continue to cooperate. At the present time, Jussie and his attorneys have no inclination to respond to ‘unnamed’ sources inside of the investigation, but will continue discussions through official channels.”
The investigation against Smollett is currently ongoing.