Jussie Smollett Charged in Connection With Allegedly Faking Attack, Officials Say
The "Empire" actor is due in court Thursday.
Jussie Smollett, who said he was attacked in Chicago last month, has been charged in connection with allegedly faking the assault, Chicago Police officials said Wednesday evening.
A grand jury heard evidence in the case and found probable cause that the "Empire" actor staged the incident, which he portrayed as a hate crime.
Smollett is charged with one count of felony disorderly conduct. He's due in court Thursday.
He had told police he was brutally attacked by two men as he walked home in the early hours of Jan. 29. He said they yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him before putting a rope around his neck and fleeing the scene.
There had been skepticism over his account, but Smollett has maintained he had nothing to do with the alleged attack. His attorneys say he's "angered and devastated" by the allegations he paid two men to stage the incident.
"He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying,” his attorneys Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson said in a statement prior to the charge being filed Wednesday evening.
Earlier Wednesday, Fox, the network behind "Empire," said it was standing by him.
“Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show," Fox said in a statement shared before police released the new information.
Inside Edition learned earlier Wednesday that Smollett was once prosecuted for lying to police in Los Angeles about his name, telling officers who pulled him over he was actually named "Jake" — his younger brother's name, court records show. He pleaded no contest in the case and was put on probation.
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