UPDATED 6:26 AM PT — Thursday, February 21, 2019
Rumors are swirling regarding the drama series “Empire” as actor Jussie Smollett is suspended after being charged with filing a false police report. This comes after Smollett turned himself in to Chicago Police to face felony charges in connection with an alleged hate crime attack he appears to have staged.
According to Variety Magazine, Smollett’s status on “Empire” is under consideration as legal proceedings get underway. 20th Century Fox television declined to comment on these specific reports, but did issue a statement saying Smollett would not be written out of the show.
Meanwhile, Cook County officials are charging the actor with felony disorderly conduct for his apparent filing of a false police report regarding a hate crime attack he allegedly staged against himself.
Smollett previously claimed he was attacked on January 29th by Trump supporters, while walking home from a Subway restaurant. However, later reports indicated he was friendly with the two alleged attackers, who were two Nigerian brothers that allegedly helped plan and stage the incident with them. They have since agreed to work alongside prosecutors as they investigate the case, and testified before a grand jury for roughly two-and-a-half hours Wednesday before the charge was filed.
Surveillance footage, also released Wednesday, appears to show the two brothers buying a red hat and ski masks used during the alleged attack.
Smollett’s lawyers have responded to the charge, saying — like any other citizen — their client must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. They also said they intend to conduct a thorough investigation and mount an aggressive defense.