Jussie Smollett Attack: ‘Empire’ Actor Staged Attack Because He Was ‘Dissatisfied with His Salary’, Police Say
WLS-TV, February 21, 2019
“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett surrendered to authorities Thursday morning after he was charged with one count of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that Smollett is in custody after surrendering to authorities after 5 a.m. Smollett is expected to appear in bond court at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
At a press conference Thursday morning, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson [said Smollett] first faked a letter using racist and homophobic language and when that didn’t get attention, Johnson said Smollett paid $3,500 in order to stage the attack. Supt. Johnson said it was because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”
“Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger to promote his career,” Johnson said. “I am left hanging my head and asking why? Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations. How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile. How can an individual who has been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims.”
The letter was sent to the Chicago studio for “Empire” on Jan. 22. The letter is currently in the FBI crime lab for analysis, sources said.
In court Thursday, 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.
If Smollett is eventually convicted of the charge, he could face up to three years in prison. He could also face substantial fines.
As for the two brothers who allegedly helped Smollett stage the attack, because they cooperated with authorities and testified before a grand jury, they are not expected to face any charges.
Police said the brothers allege Smollett paid them to orchestrate and stage the attack. The brothers said Smollett was upset that the threatening letter sent to Empire’s Chicago studios didn’t get enough attention.