(CHICAGO) — Empire star Jussie Smollett has been arrested, and is currently in custody of detectives, according to Anthony Guglielmi, chief communications officer for the Chicago Police Department.
Wednesday night, authorities filed a felony charge of disorderly conduct/filing a false police report against the actor, who falsely claimed he was the victim of an anti-gay hate crime at the hands of “racist” supporters of President Trump on January 29.
Smollett’s story quickly unraveled, however, when investigators located two brothers known to Smollett. Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo reportedly told police that the actor paid them to orchestrate and carry out the fake attack, after a threatening letter reportedly directed at him wasn’t being taken seriously enough.
The class 4 felony charge against Smollett is punishable for up to three years in prison.
Guglielmi said the arrest was the result of an, “an intense investigation that took a lot of police resources,” and insisted Smollett, “will be held accountable for that.” The spokesman added, “That was a pretty hateful allegation, and it really put a terrible look on Chicago. Chicago trusted this young man. We loved Empire. And we took this very seriously that something this hateful could happen in our city.”
Meantime, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are currently investigating whether Smollett played a role in sending the threatening letter himself, two federal officials confirmed to ABC News. If that’s confirmed, more charges against the actor are likely.
Following news of the false report charge last night, attorneys for Smollett said in a statement provided to ABC News: “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.”
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