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'Empire' Actor Jussie Smollett Charged with Felony for Filing False Police Report

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The Latest on the attack reported by Jussie Smollett (all times local):

6:55 p.m.

Chicago police say ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett has been charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report when he reported that he was attacked by two masked men.

Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office approved the felony charge on Wednesday afternoon. The charge is a Class 4 felony that carries a possible prison sentence of 1-3 years, but he could also receive probation.

Smollett reported to police that on Jan. 29 two masked men shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him, beat him, threw a chemical substance at him and looped a rope tied like a noose around his neck.

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The charges against Smollett were filed after two men who allegedly took part in the scheme testified before a grand jury.

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6:45 p.m.

An attorney representing two brothers implicated in the alleged scheme by ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett to file a false police report in what he’s said was an attack by masked men in Chicago last month says the two testified before a grand jury for a total of two and a half hours and that they did take money from Smollett.

Gloria Schmidt told reporters at the Chicago courthouse after Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo appeared before the grand jury on Wednesday that the two did not testify as part of any plea deal with prosecutors and said that the two were not granted any immunity from prosecution.

She said there was a point where the account of the men needed to be told and that they “manned up and said, ‘We’re gonna correct this.’”

The testimony came after the brothers were released from custody by police who said they were no longer suspects. Their testimony came the same day that police department said that Smollett is now considered a suspect for “filing a false police report” and that the case has been referred to a grand jury

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4:55 p.m.

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A spokeswoman says Chicago’s top prosecutor recused herself from the Jussie Smollett investigation because she had had conversations with one of the “Empire” actor’s family members and “facilitated a connection” with the police department.

Tandra Simonton said Wednesday that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself from the case last week “out of an abundance of caution.” The move was announced Tuesday.

Foxx’s first assistant, Joe Magats, is overseeing the case.

A police official says Smollett is suspected of lying about the attack and that detectives were presenting evidence to a grand jury Wednesday afternoon.

Smollett has repeatedly stood by his account. The black and gay actor told police that two masked men attacked him early on Jan. 29 and hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him.

Smollett’s lawyers didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment on Wednesday.

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4:30 p.m.

A police official says “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is now considered a suspect “for filing a false police report” and that detectives are presenting the case against him to a grand jury.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted the news on Wednesday after Smollett’s attorneys met with prosecutors and detectives.

Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men while walking home from a Subway sandwich shop at around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29. He says they beat him, hurled racist and homophobic insults at him and looped a rope around his neck before fleeing.

Police couldn’t find surveillance video of the attack but questioned two men who were initially deemed as suspects but who were released Friday. On Saturday, Guglielmi said information from the men had “shifted” the investigation and that police want to speak to Smollett again.

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3:10 p.m.

A police official says lawyers for Jussie Smollett are meeting with prosecutors and police investigators about the reported attack on the “Empire” actor late last month.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says the meeting was taking place Wednesday afternoon. He declined to confirm reports that subpoenas had been issued for Smollett’s phone and bank records.

Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men while walking home from a Subway sandwich shop at around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29. He says they beat him, hurled racist and homophobic insults at him and looped a rope around his neck before fleeing.

Police couldn’t find surveillance video of the attack but questioned two men who were initially deemed as suspects but who were released Friday. On Saturday, Guglielmi said information from the men had “shifted” the investigation and that police want to speak to Smollett again.

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11:45 a.m.

Fox Television says “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett “continues to be a consummate professional on set” and it has reiterated that he’s not being written out of the show.

The statement issued Wednesday by 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment follows reports that Smollett’s role on the show was being slashed amid police investigations into the actor’s report that he was attacked in Chicago last month.

The 36-year old told Chicago police that two masked men beat him, yelled homophobic and racial slurs and looped a rope around his neck. Smollett is black and gay.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said last week that media reports about the attack being a hoax were unconfirmed by case detectives. Police said Saturday that their investigation had “shifted” after they interviewed two brothers who were arrested and later released.

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6:40 a.m.

Chicago police say they’ve dismissed a tip that on the night “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett reported being attacked by two masked men, he was in an elevator at his apartment building with two brothers later arrested and released from custody.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Tuesday that a person in the building reported seeing the three together the night in question last month. But he says video evidence shows the report isn’t credible.

Guglielmi says the two brothers meet with investigators Tuesday. There was no immediate word on what they discussed.

Smollett has said two masked men hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him, beat him and looped a rope around his neck. Smollett is black and gay.

On Saturday, police announced that the “investigation had shifted” following interviews with the brothers. Police have requested another interview with Smollett.

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