Actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted on charges of filing a false police report, according to the Chicago Police Department, which earlier had officially declared the ‘Empire’ star a suspect in the hate crime hoax.
Chicago police announced Smollett’s indictment on Wednesday night following a grand jury hearing in which the two Nigerian brothers, who had previously been detained as suspects in the “hate crime,” testified, along with detectives. Filing a false report is a class 4 felony in Illinois, carrying a minimum prison term of one year.
Breaking: @JussieSmollett has been indicted for filing a false police report. This per the Chicago Police Department
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) February 21, 2019
The indictment came less than a day after police officially named Smollett as a suspect in his own “hate crime” and nearly a week after his shocking story of being beaten by two Trump-slogan- and racial-slur-shouting white men began unraveling.
A video obtained by reporters on Wednesday shows Olabingo and Abimbola Osundairo, the Nigerian brothers who allegedly helped Smollett stage the attack, casually purchasing ski masks, gloves, and other items similar to those Smollett claimed were used in the assault.
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 20, 2019
The brothers reportedly told investigators Smollett paid them to stage the attack because a hoax letter he had sent to himself at the ‘Empire’ studios the week before had failed to generate attention. The letter included a drawing of a stick figure hanging from a tree next to a gun and featured letters cut from magazines as well as the Trump slogan “MAGA” written in red marker.
Smollett continues to deny he played any role in a staged attack, and Fox, which airs Empire, has stood by the actor, despite reports they have cut several but not all of his planned scenes in an episode currently in production.
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