Chicago police said Thursday that “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has been taken into custody on a charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly falsely reporting he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
Smollett faces a possible prison sentence after police said Wednesday that the actor filed a false report about a racist and homophobic assault he claimed to have suffered in Chicago, local outlets confirmed.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted that Chicago police will brief reporters on the investigation later Thursday, before Smollett’s appearance in court.
Smollett, 36, came under scrutiny after anonymous law enforcement sources came forward claiming that the actor may have paid two men to stage the attack. Smollett said initially that two masked men assaulted him in the early hours of Jan. 29, wrapped a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, and said, “this is MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan, as they fled the scene. Immediately after the attack, police said they were investigating it as a possible hate crime.
Wednesday’s announcement comes hours after police called the actor “a suspect in a criminal investigation … for filing a false police report.”
Once rumors began swirling and law enforcement sources came forward with new information, the Chicago Police Department confirmed on Feb. 16 that the trajectory of its investigation had “shifted” toward Smollett.
At the time, his attorneys denied that the attack was a hoax.
“He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack,” a statement read. “Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”
Smollett had previously said he was “pissed off” that people were questioning his story.
“At first it was a thing of like, ’Listen, if at first I tell the truth, then that’s it, ’cause 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,’” he said in an interview with “Good Morning America.” “And then it became a thing of like, ‘Oh, it’s not necessarily that you don’t believe that this is the truth, you don’t even want to see the truth.’”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.