Empire star Jussie Smollett surrendered to police at 5:00 a.m. and is now in custody, reports ABC 7 Chicago.
“Smollett surrendered to authorities Thursday morning after he was charged with one count of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report,” the report says.
“Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that Smollett is in custody after surrendering to authorities after 5 a.m. Police said they would conduct a news conference at 9 a.m. Smollett is expected to appear in bond court at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.”
Jussie Smollett’s made arrangements to turn himself in last night (away from cameras)
Now being processed. Fingers prints, mug shot..
He will be transported to court.
“He has made no statement to police.”-CPD spox @cbschicago
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 21, 2019
The bond hearing will likely be a formality. The “judge is expected to formally read the charge against Smollett, set his bond and then he will be released. Smollett will return to court at a later date to enter his plea,” reports ABC 7.
On January 29, Smollett reported a hate crime to police, claiming he had been assaulted in downtown Chicago at 1:30 a.m. by two bigots.
Smollett told police the two men recognized him, hurled racial and homophobic slurs (Smollett is black and gay) and assaulted him. Before warning him “This is MAGA country!” — a reference to President Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign slogan — he said the two men poured bleach on his black skin and tied a noose around his neck. The men wore red hats, similar to those worn by Trump supporters, and black facemasks.
I tracked down surveillance of the Osundairo's buying supplies before "attack"
Sources say Jussie Smollet told brothers what to buy.
Countless phone calls placed for this.
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 20, 2019
According to police, two brothers, both of whom are black, have admitted to being paid by Smollett to stage the attack. Local reporters have found surveillance video of the brothers purchasing the items (see above) allegedly used in the hoax, including a red hat and face masks.
Just talked to north side store security guard Montago Silas who says the siblings in Jussie Smollett case purchased these ski masks hours before alleged attack. @ABC7Chicago pic.twitter.com/ZW6eT9H4PW
— Eric Horng (@EricHorngABC7) February 20, 2019
As of now, Smollett claims he is innocent. His attorneys released a statement: “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.”
The problem with Smollett’s claim of innocence is that he is hanging the two brothers out to dry with the claim they were the ones who, for whatever reason, committed a hate crime against him. According to various reports, Smollett was friendly with the brothers. One or both worked on Empire with him. One might have even been his personal trainer.
But now Smollett apparently wants us to believe they sat outside in subzero weather waiting for the opportunity to beat on him and call him a “nigger” and “faggot,” to pour bleach on him and wrap a noose around his neck.
The attorney representing the brothers told reporters Wednesday: “I think Jusse Smollett should come clean because the truth will set you free. … I think that Jesse’s conscience is not letting him sleep right now, so I think he should unload that conscience and just come out and tell the American people what actually happened.”
She also said her clients did receive money from Smollett.
Smollett is also under investigation over a piece of hate mail sent to him at the Empire offices. The racist letter contained a white powder (that proved to be harmless), but local media is reporting the brothers told police Smollett arranged to have the letter sent to himself.
For filing a false police report, Smollett could face three years in prison and a hefty fine that could include the cost of the investigation. The hate letter could mean federal mail fraud charges.
As of now, Smollett’s employers at Fox are standing by their star, although there have been reports his role was dramatically reduced in upcoming episodes and that the filing of felony charges could mean a suspension.