“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has been charged with one count of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said Wednesday evening.
Smollett is due in court in Chicago at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said CPD detectives will make contact with Smollett’s legal team to “negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest.”
Smollett is not in custody at this time. Guglielmi told ABC News police are not actively looking for the actor because “this is not a violent crime,” but said “the longer this goes, the more we have to do what we have to do.”
Guglielmi told ABC News police do not know where Smollett is, and “his attorneys have not shared where he is at this point.”
“I know this can be difficult emotionally, and we hope he doesn’t do anything terrible. We want to make this as diplomatic as possible. In the end, this is only a class 4 felony. He will get through this and we want to make it as easy as possible for him to do it. But again, it is about accountability,” Guglielmi told ABC News.
Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said they have no comment at this time.
Guglielmi said CPD detectives presented evidence before a Cook County grand jury Wednesday.
Smollett’s attorneys, Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, released a statement, saying, “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.”
Wednesday evening ABC7 Eyewitness News obtained surveillance video of the Osundairo brothers linked to the reported attack from a beauty supply shop. The video shows the brothers purchasing items possibly used in the case.
Employees at Beauty House in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood said the brothers came to the business the day before the alleged attack, and a security guard said he remembers the siblings because they purchased ski masks.
Chicago police confirmed the authenticity of the surveillance video, which shows the brothers purchasing numerous items, including a red ball cap, gloves, and ski masks.
Security guard Montago Silas said he was asked by the siblings if the store sold ski masks, but the business did not have the traditional balaclava-type mask; they only carried the kind with separate eyeholes. He thought it strange that they purchased them.
“It was bizarre because it was unusual for people to purchase these type of masks, not since the 70s, but I thought it was a little strange,” Montago said.
Just talked to north side store security guard Montago Silas who says the siblings in Jussie Smollett case purchased these ski masks hours before alleged attack. @ABC7Chicago pic.twitter.com/ZW6eT9H4PW
— Eric Horng (@EricHorngABC7) February 20, 2019
The surveillance video also shows them leaving the store. They get into a silver-colored two-door coupe before driving away. Hours later, Smollett reported the alleged attack.
Montago said he’s been keeping up with the Smollett story, but never thought he’d become a part of it.
The attorney representing the Ousundairo brothers said her clients have been fully cooperating with the investigation and do not expect to be charged.
Smollett reported on Jan. 29 that he was attacked by two masked men who hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him, beat him, threw some type of chemical liquid on him, and looped a rope around his neck in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood.
Two days after the alleged attack, Chicago police released surveillance images of two people they said they considered persons of interest in the attack. The pair were later identified as brothers and brought in for questioning.
A law enforcement source said the brothers allege Smollett paid them to orchestrate and stage the attack. The brothers said Smollett was upset that the threatening letter sent to Empire‘s Chicago studios didn’t get enough attention.
Detectives are actively investigating the allegation, but have not confirmed it to be true, the official said.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: ABC7 Chicago