- Jussie Smollett has been arrested and is in police custody after turning himself in over charges of making a false police report about a homophobic and racist attack he said happened to him.
- Smollett could face one to three years in prison if convicted.
- The “Empire” actor said that he was attacked by two men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck and made an apparent reference to President Donald Trump.
- His attorneys told INSIDER when he was charged that “Mr. 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.”
Actor Jussie Smollett has been arrested by police in Chicago, charged with making a false police report of a homophobic and racist attack he said happened to him.
A police spokeswoman confirmed the arrest to INSIDER. A second spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, said that Smollett is now in custody of detectives.
Police spokesman Tom Ahern said that Smollett could face up to three years in prison for disorderly conduct, falsifying a police report if he is convincted.
The “Empire” actor was charged with making a false police report and felony disorder conduct on Wednesday when he said he was attacked in Chicago by two men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck, according to police.
Smollett turned himself in early on Thursday to face the charges, Guglielmi told The Associated Press.
Smollett will appearin court later today.
Smollett, who is black and gay and plays a gay character on the Fox show, said he was attacked by two masked men who beat him and made derogatory comments. He said that they shouted “This is MAGA country” – an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan – before they fled.
The charges against Smollett, 36, on Wednesday emerged on the same day that detectives and two brothers who were previously deemed suspects – and later cleared – testified about the case before a grand jury.
Investigators have not commented on what the brothers have told detectives or what evidence has been collected. But police signalled last Friday that there were serious questions about Smollett’s account when they announced a “significant shift in the trajectory” of the probe after the brothers were freed.
Smollett’s attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said in a statement emailed to INSIDER after he was charged: “Like any other citizen, Mr. 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.”
“Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defence.”
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