“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett turned himself in to Chicago police on Thursday morning.
Weeks after Smollett alleged that he was a victim of a hate crime in his Chicago neighborhood, the singer and actor has been charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, reports ABC7.
The 36-year-old surrendered himself to authorities around 5 a.m. and was charged with staging his racist and homophobic January attack.
NEW: Color booking photo of Jussie Smollett.
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 21, 2019
Just hours before he was arrested and in police custody, Smollett was “officially classified as a suspect” in the criminal investigation connected to his attack claims.
According to CBS Chicago, the actor has yet to make a statement to police following his arrest. On Wednesday night, after he was charged, his attorneys released the following 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.
Due to new evidence obtained by questioning two individuals who are linked to the investigation police believe the attack was staged. Two brothers, Ola Osundairo and Abel Osundairo, are accused of helping Smollett orchestrate a fake attack.
As reported by Dearly, Smollett originally told police that he was assaulted by two men, including one who was masked, who yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, beat him, poured a chemical on his body, and tied a noose around his neck.
However, the narrative began to unravel after Ola and Abel Osundairo cooperated with police and said that Smollett paid them to coordinate and stage a hoax.
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
Detectives later combed through surveillance video from the nearby neighborhoods where Smollett claimed that he was attacked. Officials did not find footage locating the suspects in the assault.
But they found images of Ola and Abel buying a red hat and ski masks from a store the day before the alleged beating.
Watch the video below:
Police are accusing Smollett of staging his attack to promote his career. Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said:
“He was dissatisfied with his salary. Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.
This publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn’t earn, and certainly didn’t deserve.”
According to authorities, the actor paid Ola and Abel $3500 by check to concoct a hate crime. Johnson said:
“As far as we can tell, the scratching and bruising that you saw on his (Smollett’s) face were most likely self-inflicted.”
Smollett faces a felony charge, punishable by one to three years in prison if he is convicted of disorderly conduct.
Watch more video below:
Editor’s note: This story was edited after publication.