Jussie Smollett Is Facing Criminal Charges

Empire star Jussie Smollett

Empire star Jussie Smollett

"Empire" star Jussie Smollet was charged Wednesday night with lying to cops when he claimed to be the victim of a racist and homophobic attack - and authorities want him to surrender, police said.

The day after they were released, police said the men provided information that had "shifted the trajectory of the investigation", and detectives requested another interview with Smollett.

The class 4 felony Smollett faces carries a potential sentence of one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 (£19,000) in fines. They released images of two people they said they wanted to question and last week picked up the pair at O'Hare Airport as they returned from Nigeria.

Doubt was later cast on his account after USA media reported that police believed he may have paid two Nigerian brothers to stage the attack.

TV station CBS Chicago on Wednesday released a videotape it had obtained showing the two brothers buying a red hat and ski masks from a hardware store days before the alleged attack.

Smollett had told police he was attacked by two masked men while walking home from a Subway sandwich shop at about 2am on January 29.

The lawyer for the brothers said to the media that they testified before a grand jury for two and a half hours about their part in the hoax.

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Smollett continues to deny he played any role in a staged attack, and Fox, which airs Empire, has stood by the actor, despite reports they have cut several but not all of his planned scenes in an episode now in production.

"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", the two companies said in a joint statement on Wednesday, hours before Smollett was indicted. "It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie's complicity". It is reported that they were paid $3,500 via check, before the attack for "training".

Fox is considering removing Jussie Smollett from production on "Empire".

"They're not guilty of anything", Schmidt said. De Mar said he spoke with Abel and Ola on Monday, and they told him they would never commit a hate crime, insisting, "We are not racist".

Investigators combed through surveillance video from the area where Smollett claimed he was attacked but officials were unsuccessful in locating footage of the beating. "Nothing is further from the truth", reports the BBC.

"I never said that", he told ABC's Robin Roberts in an interview that aired February 14.

Original Story: Jussie Smollett has dug a deeper hole for himself. Also, the story has been updated to correct the last name of Anne Kavanagh.

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