UPDATE – Jussie Smollett turned himself in to the Chicago Police Department early Thursday morning. He is now under arrest for filing a false police report, which is a Class 4 felony punishable by up to three years in prison. The Chicago Police’s Twitter feed confirmed Smollett’s arrest moments ago:
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/YonrLkc724
— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) February 21, 2019
(Our original article continues below.)
The Chicago Police Department has just announced that Empire star Jussie Smollet is officially a suspect in their criminal investigation stemming from the alleged attack on the actor by two men late last month.
“Jussie Smollett is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by #ChicagoPolice for filing a false police report (Class 4 felony),” Chicago PD Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement posted on Twitter moments ago. “Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.”
That Cook County Grand Jury was scheduled to hear testimony from the two brothers who attacked Smollett. But CBS Chicago reports that just minutes before Ola and Abel Osundairo were scheduled to take the stand, “Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office got a call from Smollett’s lawyers, claiming they may have new evidence.” As a result, “prosecutors decided to postpone the brothers’ testimony, which would have been the first step toward indicting Smollett for filing a false police report.”
In another update in the case today, CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar obtained security camera footage of the Osundairo brothers buying a red hat and ski masks from a store the day before the assault after the reporter says he “visited more stores than I wish to admit.”
Here is his tweet with the video:
I tracked down surveillance of the Osundairo's buying supplies before "attack"
Sources say Jussie Smollet told brothers what to buy.
Countless phone calls placed for this.
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 20, 2019
From CBS Chicago:
Sources have said the two brothers told police they helped stage the attack with Smollett. They said they were paid $3,500 to pour a chemical on the actor, and place a rope around his neck, while yelling racist and homophobic slurs.
Just prior to the Chicago PD’s announcement that Jessie Smollett is now officially a suspect, Fox issued a statement addressing rumors that Smollett’s character Jamal Lyon was being written off of Empire. “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,” 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said.
The statement seems carefully crafted so as not to address Smollett’s potential involvement in his own attack. Assuming that Smollett is innocent until proven otherwise, their decisions appear to be based solely on his work performance. Of course, that may change if the actor is officially indicted.
UPDATE – Charlie De Mar reports that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has approved a disorderly conduct charge on Jussie Smollett. He adds that SMollett’s case is scheduled to be called in bond court tomorrow at 1:30PM local time.