Jussie Smollett Staged Attack Because He Was Unhappy With 'Empire' Salary

Jussie Smollett Mugshot

'Smollett was dissatisfied by his Empire salary so he concocted a story about being attacked'. "We gave him the benefit of the doubt".

Police said Smollett planned the hoax because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career. "First, Smollett attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language", he said. His lawyers did not respond to a request for comment Thursday, but issued a statement saying that they plan to mount an "aggressive defense".

At the time, he told authorities he was attacked by two men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck, police said.

Former Cook County prosecutor Andrew Weisberg said judges rarely throw defendants in prison for making false reports, opting instead to place them on probation, particularly if they have no prior criminal record. On Thursday, he tweeted to Smollett: "What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and risky comments!? #MAGA", Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

Once police had Ola and Abel's names from Uber, Smollett's scheme unravelled.

'Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show, ' it said on Wednesday.

"When we discovered the actual motive, quite frankly, it pissed everybody off", Johnson said at Thursday's press conference.

As of this morning, Smollett was arrested by Chicago police and has been charged with a felony for "disorderly conduct/filing a false police report", according to a tweet by Anthony Guglelmi, chief communications officer for the Chicago Police Department.

Smollett plays Jamal Lyon on Empire, a gay singer who is part of a music mogul family.

Police interviewed more than 100 people, reviewed footage from more than 55 surveillance cameras and executed more than 50 search warrants.

On Wednesday, Smollett, who appears in Fox's Empire, turned himself in to Chicago police, who face charges that he faked a late January attack in downtown Chicago.

Police say they have a cheque that Mr Smollett signed and that he had agreed to pay $3,500 (£2,700) for the brothers' participation.

It was then discovered that the men were brothers of Nigerian descent, both known to Smollett: one was an extra on Empire, the other was his personal trainer.

Prosecutors said one of the brothers had supplied Smollett with "designer drugs" in the past. They were released on February 15 and it was announced they were no longer suspects.

Johnson noted how Smollett's claims ignited intense media coverage, with everyone from President Trump to several 2020 presidential candidates weighing in on news of the assault. Chicago hosts one of the largest pride parades in the world.

Smollett had appeared on Good Morning America last week and said he was angry that some people questioned his story, and he suggested the disbelief might come from racial bias.

Johnson also voiced the concern that reports of hate crimes would be treated with more cynicism after Smollett's arrest.

Added Johnson: "Bogus police reports cause real harm".

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