Another twist in the ongoing Jussie Smollett saga: The Empire star is now officially classified as a suspect by Chicago police for filing a false police report, which is a Class 4 felony.
Chicago PD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed the news via Twitter on Wednesday:
Smollett was the alleged victim of an attack in Chicago last month, in which two men supposedly approached the actor/singer and began hurling racist and homophobic slurs at him. According to the original account, the two men beat Smollett, poured a chemical substance (believed to be bleach) on him and tied a noose around his neck before fleeing the scene. Smollett also told police that the assailants “yelled pro-‘Make America Great Again’ [MAGA] comments” during the attack.
Later developments cast doubt on Smollett’s account, including the questioning of two suspects — a pair of Nigerian brothers, one of whom worked as a personal trainer on a music video of Smollett’s — who were later released without being charged. Smollett’s lawyers have insisted that the actor played no role in his attack, and 20th Century Fox, the producers of Empire, have stood behind him, denying reports that his role on the show was being reduced after the controversy: “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.”