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‘Empire’ Actor Jussie Smollett Now Considered Suspect For Filing False Report

Jussie Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men who beat him and yelled racist and homophobic language, but police now believe it may have been a false report.

By Jill Sederstrom
Jessie Smollet

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is now being considered a suspect for filing a false report to police, several weeks after he claimed he had been attacked and beaten by two masked men in a racially motivated attack.

“Jussie Smollett is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigaton by #ChicagoPolice for filing a false police report (Class 4 felony,” Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department said on Twitter. “Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.”

Smollett had told police he had been attacked by two masked men while leaving a Subway restaurant around 2 a.m. on January 29. He claimed the men shouted racial and homophobic insults, beat him up and tied a noose around his neck before fleeing the scene.

Initially, Guglielmi had told The New York Post police had “no reason to doubt” Smollett’s story but investigators were unable to find any surveillance video of the attack.

On Friday, police detained two men who they believed may have been suspects in the alleged attack but they were later released after Guglielmi said the investigation had “shifted,” the Associated Press reports. The men were identified as brothers Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo.

Smollett’s attorneys reportedly met with prosecutors Wednesday, but it’s not known what was discussed during that meeting or whether Smollett was in attendance.  

On Saturday, his attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor P. Henderson released a statement claiming that reports that he had falsified the attack were inaccurate.

“Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying,” the statement said, according to the AP.