Belfast Telegraph

Lawyers for Jussie Smollett say charges have been dropped over ‘false attack’

Prosecutors have said the Empire actor made a false report to authorities to promote his career and because he was unhappy with his pay.

Empire actor Jussie Smollett at a court hearing (Matt Marton/AP)
Empire actor Jussie Smollett at a court hearing (Matt Marton/AP)

Lawyers for Empire actor Jussie Smollett claim charges alleging he lied to police about being attacked have been dropped.

Smollett lawyers Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement that Smollett’s record “has been wiped clean”.

He was indicted on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs.

Smollett said he had “been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one”.

A spokeswoman for Cook County prosecutors did not immediately respond to messages requesting comment.

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Empire actor Jussie Smollett supporter, Sandra Gentry, right, and others (Matt Marton/AP)

Police and prosecutors have said the black and gay actor falsely reported to authorities that he was attacked on January 29 in central Chicago because he was unhappy with his pay on the Fox show and to promote his career.

Smollett, who is black and gay, plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox TV show that follows a black family as they navigate the ups and downs of the recording industry.

Smollett reported that he had been attacked on his way home from a sandwich shop.

Smollett said two masked men shouted racial and anti-gay slurs, poured bleach on him, beat him and looped a rope around his neck.

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Actor Jussie Smollet, right, stands with his lawyer Tina Glandian (E. Jason Wambsgans/AP)

He claimed they shouted, “This is MAGA country”, a reference to President Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign slogan.

He asserted that he could see one of the men was white because he could see the skin around his eyes.

Police said Smollett hired two men, both of whom are black, to attack him.

Police said Smollett paid the men 3,500 US dollars.

The men are brothers Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, and one of them had worked on Empire.

A lawyer for them has said the brothers agreed to help Smollett because of their friendship with him and the sense that he was helping their careers.

Police have also said that before the attack, Smollett sent a letter that threatened him to the Chicago studio where Empire is shot.

The FBI, which is investigating that letter, has declined to comment on the investigation.

PA

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