UPDATE: Smollett was released from custody at 3:35 PM Chicago time. He got into a black SUV which drove away.
“Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system,” Smollett’s legal team said after the press conference.
“The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election. Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.”
Jussie Smollett staged a fake hate attack because he wasn't happy with the salary he was raking in on Empire, according to the Chicago police superintendent.
New details came to light on Thursday, February 21, when Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson held a press conference to discuss Smollett's felony charge.
"The stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary, so he concocted a story about being attacked," Johnson said.
"Now our city has problems, we know that, we have problems that have affected people from all walks of life and we know that," Johnson continued. "But to put the national spotlight on Chicago for something that is...untrue is simply shameful."
The Chicago police official also revealed that Smollett allegedly paid two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack. In doing so, Johnson said Smollett dragged "Chicago's reputation through the mud."
On Thursday morning, Smollett was placed under arrest and in custody of Chicago detectives.
He was charged with a felony of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. The maximum prison sentence for the crime is three years.
He later posted $100,000 bail, and was ordered to return to court next month.
The city's police department investigated the January 29 incident for weeks. The brothers — who worked on the set of Empire — were initially arrested earlier this month and released from police custody.
As Radar readers know, Smollett claimed the two men battered him while shouting racist and homophobic slurs. He also accused the brothers of placing a noose around his neck, and pouring a chemical substance on him.
According to the Huffington Post, the star allegedly made $65,000 per episode on the hit show.
On February 20, just one day prior to his arrest, the Fox television network released a statement in support of the actor. The network claimed Smollett has been a "consummate professional" on set, and confirmed he would not be written off the show.
However, the network now seems to be rethinking its decision based on a new statement they released on Thursday after the press conference.
"We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options," Fox said.
Radar obtained a mugshot of the star, taken on Feb. 21, where he appears emotionless.
Time will tell whether or not Smollett is ultimately axed from Empire.
What do you think of Smollett's alleged motivation for the crime? Sound off in the comments.
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