Jussie Smollett arrested after 'falsely claiming he was victim of hate crime'

Jussie’s scenes in Empire have reportedly been cut drastically

Empire star Jussie Smollett is looking at up to three years in prison if found guilty of allegedly staging a hate crime attack against himself, and on February 20, a Cook County, IL grand jury indicted him on felony criminal charges for Disorderly Conduct and Filing a False Police Report.

IL code states that filing a false police report constitutes disorderly conduct, which carries a three- to six-year prison sentence as well as up to $25,000 in fines.

Prosecutors said a bail hearing for Smollett is anticipated at 1.30pm local time on Thursday (February 21), reports CNN.

Smollett has claimed two men wearing a similar hat and masks attacked him on January 29 in Streeterville, according to police. made multiple phone calls and visited several stores to obtain the video.

And prior to that evidence surfaced saying Smollett was behind the creation of a threatening letter that was sent to the studio where Empire is shot, according to two sources who spoke with CBS Chicago. Chicago police said last month they were investigating the alleged assault against Smollett, who is black and openly gay, as a possible hate crime.

On Wednesday a police spokesman confirmed they were presenting evidence about the actor to a Grand Jury.

Last week, police arrested two brothers who were recognised from surveillance footage of the area where Smollett said the attack occurred.

The class 4 felony Smollett faces carries a potential sentence of one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 (£19,000) in fines.

CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted Wednesday after charges were filed that detectives were working to contact Smollett's legal team "to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest". They were later released and are said to be co-operating with the investigation. As they fled the scene the men yelled, "This is MAGA country!" according to Smollett.

Smollett said the attackers put a noose around his neck and poured what he believed to be bleach over him.

On Saturday, Mr Guglielmi said information from the men had "shifted" the investigation and that police wanted to speak to Smollett again. They told police that they scouted a location where they believed a camera would capture the attack. "We are not homophobic".

In response to the charges, Smollett's lawyers Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson released a statement on his behalf.

"He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack", a statement read. "Nothing is further from the truth".

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