This case just took a turn for the worse. On Thursday, February 21, Empire star Jussie Smollett was arrested for filing a false police report after he claimed that two men attacked and screamed “racial and homophobic slurs” at him, In Touch confirmed.
Anthony Guglielmi — a police spokesperson for the Chicago PD — tweeted that the actor, 36, was “in custody of detectives.”
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/9PSv8Ojec2
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 21, 2019
Just hours earlier, Jussie was charged with felony disorderly conduct, which could land him one to three years in prison. “Felony criminal charges have been approved by @CookCountySAO against Jussie Smollett for Disorderly Conduct / Filing a False Police Report,” another tweet from the police read. “Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest.”
On January 29, the singer claimed that he was approached by two unknown masked men around 2 a.m. and that they tied a noose around his neck, in addition to pouring an “unknown chemical substance” on him.
After the incident, the California native — who is openly gay — spoke out for the first time. “Let me start by saying that I’m OK,” he said in a statement to Essence. “My body is strong, but my soul is stronger. More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words.”
During an interview with Robin Roberts on the February 14 episode of Good Morning America, Jussie addressed the rumors that he might not be telling the whole story. “It’s like, you know, at first, it was a thing of, like, ‘Listen, if I tell the truth, then that’s it, ‘cause it’s the truth,’” he said. “Then it became a thing of like, ‘Oh, how can you doubt that? Like, how do you — how do you not believe that? It’s the truth.’” He also noted that he didn’t want to turn over his cellphone records to investigators because he had “private pictures and videos and numbers.”
Many people thought that Jussie staged the attack because he was nervous as to what was going to happen to his character, Jamal Lyon, on the Fox hit show. At the time, a Chicago police spokesperson called the report “uninformed and inaccurate.”
On February 13, police arrested two brothers, Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, at a Chicago airport. Two days later, on February 15, they were released without charge. The Nigerian brothers reportedly told investigators that Jussie gave them money to arrange the attack, and that’s when everything changed.
“Case Update: Jussie Smollett is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by #ChicagoPolice for filing a false police report,” Anthony tweeted on February 20. “Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.”
Case Update: Jussie Smollett is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by #ChicagoPolice for filing a false police report (Class 4 felony). Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury. pic.twitter.com/FhDcbBKsuU
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 20, 2019
Through it all, Jussie has put on quite the act. “I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to and um, I’m gonna stand strong with y’all,” he told the crowd at his first show in February. “I had to be here tonight, y’all. It sounds so prideful, but I couldn’t let those motherf—kers win. So, I will always stand for love. I will never stand for anything other than love. Regardless of what anyone else says. I will only stand for love. And I hope that you all stand with me. So, thank you. Let’s do it.”