Empire actor Jussie Smollett turned himself into the Chicago Police Department early Thursday morning after the Cook County States Attorney charged him with a class 4 felony on Wednesday for filing a false police report.

CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson said “Smollett paid $3,500 to stage the attack because he was dissatisfied with his salary.”

Smollett will appear in court at 1:30PM CT.

***We will update this post as more information comes out.

3:30PM: Smollett told prosecutors what happened:


3:20PM: Smollett received a bail of $100,000. He must surrender his passport and appear in court on March 14.

11:07AM: CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson gave a powerful press conference where he lashed at out at Smollett for the fake hate crime. Smollett staged the attack due to dissatisfaction of his salary. From CBS Chicago:

“Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said at a news conference Thursday morning. “This publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn’t earn, and certainly didn’t deserve.”

Police said, in reality, Smollett had paid those two men, Ola and Abel Osundairo, $3,500 by check to stage the attack. CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar has reported Smollett also directed the brothers to buy the noose at a hardware story and the hat and masks a store in Uptown. Johnson said police have the check.

“I’m 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?” Johnson said. “How can an individual who’s been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?”

Johnson said the facial wounds on Smollett were self inflicted.

Johnson now fears “that hate crimes will now publicly be met with a level of skepticism that previously didn’t happen.”

10:10AM: You can watch the livestream of the police conference here:

10:07AM: They have released Jussie’s mugshot.

8:30AM CT: From The Chicago Tribune:

Smollett, 36, turned himself in early Thursday, according to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. He is scheduled to appear for a bond hearing later in the day. If convicted, he faces up to three years in jail and could be ordered to pay for the cost of the investigation, which involved more than 20 detectives over three weeks.

Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson has scheduled a news conference to discuss the case at 9 a.m. Thursday. Accompanying him will be the detective commander of Area Central, which handled the investigation.

Smollett claimed two white men attacked him at 2:30AM on January 29. He said the men poured bleach on him, placed a noose around his neck, and yelled, “This is MAGA country.”

His story unraveled every day since then. Sources poured out information to local media that investigators believed Smollett paid brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo to attack him.

From CBS Chicago:

The Osundairos were arrested last week, but later released without charges.

Sources have said the two brothers told police they helped stage the attack with Smollett. They said they were paid $3,500 to pour a chemical on the actor, and place a rope around his neck, while yelling racist and homophobic slurs.

The two brothers told police Smollett also was behind creating a racist letter sent to the show, according to two sources with first-hand knowledge of the investigation.

When that letter did not get a “bigger reaction,” Smollett orchestrated the attack a week later with the two men, sources said.

The Chicago Tribune has more on that letter:

A week before he says he was attacked by two men yelling slurs, “Empire” star Jussie Smollett reported receiving a small white envelope addressed to him in a thick red scrawl at the Fox production studios on the West Side.

Smollett told police he and the show’s executive producer used gloves to open the envelope. Inside was a sheet of white paper with a threat in cut-out letters: “You will die black fag.” There was white powder in the envelope, but it was later determined to be crushed acetaminophen, a pain reliever found in Tylenol, police said.

Witnesses told police a postal worker dropped off the letter. It was postmarked in southwest suburban Bedford Park on Jan. 18, four days earlier, and bore two American flag stamps. The letters MAGA were written, also in red ink, in the upper-left corner of the envelope.

The FBI crime lab has possession of the letter for analysis.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.