Early this morning, police arrested Empire star Jussie Smollett.
According to CNN, Smollett “faces a felony charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report.” The Class 4 felony could result in one to three years of jail time for the actor, and he could be asked to compensate the Chicago Police Department for the cost of the investigation.
On January 29, Smollett said he was attacked by two men on the streets of Chicago who yelled homophobic and racist slurs at him. He said one of the men was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, that they poured a chemical on him and placed a rope around his neck. He also said they yelled “This is MAGA country” during the attack.
However, after police began to investigate the apparent hate crime, new details emerged that made them question Smollett’s story. Investigators believe the actor paid two acquaintances to stage the attack. Smollet has denied the allegations.
Fox, which airs Empire, was supportive of Smollett at first, but sources tell Variety the network is now considering suspending the actor in light of these new developments. A bail hearing for Smollett is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
In a statement to CNN, his lawyer said, “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 defense.”