“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is in custody to face charges of making a false police reportwhen he said he was attacked in downtown Chicago late last month by two men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck, police said.
Chicago police announced the development on Twitter:
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
Fellow police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said prosecutors charged Smollett with felony disorderly conduct, an offense that could bring one to three years in prison and force the actor to pay for the cost of the investigation into his report of a Jan. 29 beating.
The charges emerged on the same day that detectives and two brothers who were earlier deemed suspects testified before a grand jury. Smollett’s attorneys met with prosecutors and police, but it was unknown what they discussed or whether Smollett attended the meeting.
In a statement, attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said 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.”
The announcement of the charges followed a flurry of activity in recent days, including lengthy interviews of the brothers by authorities, a search of their home and their release after police cleared them.
Investigators have not said what the brothers told detectives or what evidence detectives collected. But it became increasingly clear that serious questions had arisen about Smollett’s account – something police signaled Friday when they announced a “significant shift in the trajectory” of the probe after the brothers were freed.