Empireactor Jussie Smollett charged with filing a false police report
Empire actor Jussie Smollett has been charged with filing a false police report, the Chicago Police Department has confirmed.
He will appear in court later today for a bail hearing, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.
His arrest follows claims he made that he was the victim of a homophobic and racially motivated assault late last month.
Smollett told police that he was attacked by two men near his apartment in the early hours of January 29, who verbally abused him, before pouring bleach on him and putting a noose around his neck.
It was also claimed that the assailants shouted 'MAGA country' at him, short for 'Make America Great Again', the slogan used by President Donald Trump.
However, police later arrested and questioned two brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, who were in the vacinity of the attack at the time, and who it has since emerged are known to Smollett.
The actor's legal team has denied that the assault was staged.
"Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest," police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement released on Twitter.
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
Smollett's attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said: "Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked.
"Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense."
After initially throwing its support behind Smollett, Fox, the network which makes Empire, is now considering suspending him, according to Variety.
In the show, Smollett, a former child star, plays R&B singer Jamal Lyon, son of hip hop mogul Lucious Lyon, played by Terrence Howard.
If found guilty of the charge, he could face up to three years in jail.
This article first appeared on Yahoo