Jussie Smollett Charged With Felony by Chicago Police Department [Updated]

Jussie Smollett attends Espolòn Celebrates Day of the Dead at Academy Nightclub on Nov. 1, 2018, in Hollywood, Calif.
Photo: Tasia Wells (Getty Images for Espolòn)

The Empire has fallen! Or, more like, the Jussie Smollett disaster that is reading like a Lee Daniels script continues to give us enough plot turns to make us sick.

Chicago police, who are not the most credible outfit because of this, this, this, this, and this (that last one stretching back more than 50 years), are certainly all over the Empire actor’s case and announced on Wednesday that Smollett has been “officially classified” as a suspect in a criminal investigation for allegedly filling a false police report.

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Chicago police communications officer Anthony Guglielmi posted on Twitter on Wednesday evening that the actor is under investigation for a Class 4 felony and that detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County grand jury.

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CNN reports that Chicago police want to interview Smollett to discuss the anti-black and anti-gay attack he reported that occurred on Jan. 29.

Two men, Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, were arrested in that incident; however, they were subsequently released from police custody.

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Chicago detectives are working to obtain the actor’s financial records, and USA Today reports the brothers told authorities that Smollett paid them to stage the beat down which included a noose, a chemical substance, and some nasty language.

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According to CNN, the two brothers, one of whom had appeared as an extra on Empire, the Fox show that Smollett stars in, met Tuesday with police and prosecutors at a Chicago courthouse.

The two are no longer suspects at this time, according to police.

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Fox, which produces Empire, has thrown its support behind the actor, and the 36-year-old and his attorneys have vehemently denied the attack, and released a statement on Wednesday, as reported by CNN:

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.

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Pro-Trump acolytes and conservative media have jumped all over this case because Smollett confirmed to media outlets that the attackers said, “This is MAGA country” in addition to calling him a “nigger” and “faggot” while beating him.

The saga continues. Wu-Tang. Wu-Tang.

Updated: Thursday, Feb. 20, 2019, 9:30 p.m. EST: As anticipated, 36-year-old actor Jussie Smollett has been charged with disorderly conduct after a Cook County Grand Jury found probable cause that he falsely filed a police report in response to an alleged racial and homophobic attack.

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The Washington Post reports that the charge is a felony and came hours after Chicago Police named Smollett as a suspect in the criminal investigation around the Jan. 29 occurrence.

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Once again, CPD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi shared the news on social media, saying that Smollett had been charged with Disorderly Conduct/Filing a false police report. He also noted that “Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest.”

Smollett’s lawyers released a response saying that their client “enjoys the presumption of innocence” and that they plan to mount an “aggressive defense.”

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About the author

Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.