Jussie Smollett has been released on bond after being charged with allegedly falsely filing a police report, but the star is maintaining his innocence, pleading with the “Empire” cast and crew to believe his story, according to a published report.
Smollett reportedly showed up to shoot his scene for the show in Chicago 30 minutes late on Thursday after he’d posted bail.
“I wanted to say I’m sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this,” Smollett told the staff, according to TMZ. He was reportedly surrounded by his family when he showed up.
Inside Edition was told that Smollett was crying as he addressed the cast and crew.
"Empire" executive producers released a statement on Friday saying Smollett's character, Jamal, will be removed from the final two episodes of the season "to avoid further disruption on set."
Smollett’s attorneys released a statement after his release, claiming that the “presumption of innocence” was disregarded for Smollett.
“Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system,” Smollett’s legal team said in a statement to CBS Chicago. “The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a mayoral election.
"Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.”
Smollett was arrested at around 5 a.m. on Thursday morning. He appeared in court Thursday afternoon on a charge of felony disorderly conduct.
His bond was set at $100,000 and he was released after posting $10,000 bond. He was also required to hand over his passport.
Police said Smollett filed a false police report when he claimed he was attacked by two masked men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him before putting a noose around his neck in Chicago on Jan. 29. The incident made headlines and support poured in for the actor.
Now police say, however, that Smollett orchestrated the attack himself and paid two Nigerian brothers that he knew $3,500 to carry it out.
Text messages between Smollett and the brothers, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, were reportedly read in court.
He is expected to appear in court March 14. Smollett could face up to three years in prison if convicted.