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'Empire' Of Deceit? Jussie Smollett Is Officially Named Suspect In Alleged Hoax Crime

Jussie Smollett Named Hoax Crime Suspect By Police
Source: Getty Images

Feb. 20 2019, Published 9:18 p.m. ET

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After a firestorm of controversy, Chicago police are officially investigating actor Jussie Smollett for filing a false police report—and a source exclusively told his arrest could be imminent.

The Empire actor, 36, who had claimed to be the victim of a hate crime, is now a suspect for allegedly faking it, Officer Norma Pelayo of the Chicago Police Department told on Wednesday, February 20, 2019.

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“We can confirm prosecutors and investigators in Chicago spoke with attorneys of Jussie Smollett at approximately 10 a.m. this morning," Pelayo said.

"Smollett is now classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by Chicago police for filing a false report."

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi also said Wednesday afternoon via 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."

A source told that the actor will "100 percent" be arrested soon.

"He’s going to turn himself in with his attorney."

As has reported, Smollett has been accused of paying Nigerian brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to stage an assault against him in Chicago on Jan. 29, 2019.

The actor claimed to police that the brothers yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him before allegedly battering him and putting a rope around his neck.

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Smollett also claimed that the brothers "poured an unknown chemical substance on him," first reported to be bleach.

He gave an emotional TV interview about the alleged attack to Robin Roberts on GMA.

However, the actor’s claims have since been questioned after the brothers were initially arrested and then released by police. Abel and Ola, who reportedly worked on the set of Empire, claimed to detectives that they were hired and paid by the actor to stage the crime.

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One of the brothers reportedly turned his phone over to police showing a phone call between he and Smollett was placed in the vicinity of the alleged attack before it happened.

Early on Wednesday, Chicago PD spokesman Gugliemi said prosecutors had been speaking with Jussie Smollett's lawyers, noting, "We are hopeful that we'll have a chance to ask the questions that we have. It doesn't matter what the investigation shows; if you have information that's helpful to law enforcement, it behooves you to contact authorities and share that information. We have been very diplomatic and have been working with him and his attorneys. We got information, and that what we want to run by him. If the opportunity is not taken to come in, we're going to go with other methods to create a culture of accountability."

Sources have reportedly said police have issued subpoenas for Smollett's phone and bank records, but police have not officially confirmed that.

Smollett could face a maximum sentence of three years in jail and a $25,000 fine if convicted of filing a false police report.

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