Empire star Jussie Smollett ‘classified as a suspect’ – US police
The actor told police he was attacked on January 29.
Empire star Jussie Smollett is now being considered as a suspect for filing a “false police report”.
The US star, 36, alleged he was the victim of a racially motivated and homophobic attack, in which he was beaten and had a noose looped around his neck.
However, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department has now confirmed the star is being treated as a suspect in the case and officers will present evidence to a grand jury.
Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men when returning home from a Subway at 2am on January 29, was forced to flee and taken to hospital. He claimed racist and homophobic insults were hurled at him.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted an update on the progress of the investigation, writing: “Case Update: Jussie Smollett is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by #ChicagoPolice for filing a false police report (Class 4 felony).
“Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.”
It had been previously said that information on the case had “shifted”, according to the Associated Press.
Smollett, who like his character Jamal Lyon is black and gay, said he was attacked by two masked men who yelled “this is MAGA country” during their alleged assault.
Case Update: Jussie Smollett is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by #ChicagoPolice for filing a false police report (Class 4 felony). Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury. pic.twitter.com/FhDcbBKsuU— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 20, 2019
Legal representatives of Smollett responded to prior claims that the attack may have been orchestrated.
They said in a statement: “Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with.
“He has now been further victimised by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack.
“Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”