The Cook County state’s attorney’s office officially charged "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett on Wednesday with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report.
"Felony criminal charges have been approved by @CookCountySAO against Jussie Smollett for Disorderly Conduct / Filing a False Police Report," Chicago Police Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi tweeted. "Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest."
"Guglielmi said CPD detectives presented evidence before a Cook County grand jury Wednesday," ABC Chicago reported. "The grand jury returned an indictment shortly before 7 p.m. Smollett is not in custody at this time."
Smollett's attorneys released the following statement after their client 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."
The move by prosecutors came hours after Guglielmi issued the following statement: "Case Update: Jussie Smollett is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by #ChicagoPolice for filing a false police report (Class 4 felony). Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury."
CNN reported on Wednesday that "Chicago detectives investigating an alleged attack on Jussie Smollett are working to obtain the actor's financial records," according to high-level sources.
"Smollett's case began on January 22, 2019, when the actor received a threatening letter at the Fox studio where 'Empire' is filmed," The Daily Wire reported. "Two brothers, who are believed to have orchestrated the attack on Smollett at Smollett's instruction, claimed that Smollett was also behind sending the threatening letter to himself."
On Wednesday, CBS Chicago obtained an exclusive video of the two brothers buying the supplies that they used in the attack.
Security guard Montago Silas told ABC Chicago that he was asked by the brothers if the store sold ski masks and that he found their behavior to be strange.
"It was bizarre because it was unusual for people to purchase these type of masks, not since the 70s, but I thought it was a little strange," Silas said.
"The FBI and the US Postal Inspection Service are currently investigating whether Jussie Smollett played a role in sending a threatening letter addressed to him at 'Empire’s' Chicago studio prior to the alleged attack," ABC News reported, after confirming with two federal officials. "The accusation, made by the two brothers who were persons of interest, has not been confirmed."
Chicago law enforcement officials were skeptical of Smollett's claims from the start. TMZ reported:
The sources say there were red flags from the get-go. Cops were extremely suspicious when Jussie took them out to the area where he said he was attacked and pointed to an obscure camera saying how happy he was that the attack was on video. Turns out the camera was pointing in the wrong direction. Cops thought it was weird he knew the location of that camera.
And, there's this. We're told investigators didn't believe the 2 alleged attackers screamed, "This is MAGA country," because, "Not a single Trump supporter watches 'Empire.'"
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