Jussie Smollett is now considered a suspect for filing a false police report in his hate crime hoax.
The news was broke by Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.
The evidence is now being presented to a Cook County grand jury and it is a Class 4 felony.
“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,” he said.
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. pic.twitter.com/FhDcbBKsuU
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 20, 2019
This marks the first time that Smollett has been officially declared a suspect by the Chicago Police Department.
It came hours after 20th Century Fox, the company that produces “Empire,” issued a statement standing by him.
“’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.’” – STATEMENT FROM 20TH CENTURY FOX TELEVISION AND FOX ENTERTAINMENT,” it said.
“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.” – STATEMENT FROM 20TH CENTURY FOX TELEVISION AND FOX ENTERTAINMENT
— 20th Century Fox TV (@20centuryfoxTV) February 20, 2019
It is also not the first time that Smollett has been charged with lying to the police.
The year was 2007 and Smollett was pulled over for a DUI in Los Angeles, NBC Philadelphia reported.
The “Empire” actor, before the height of his fame decided to give the police his younger brother’s name.
Smollett was charged with false impersonation, driving under the influence and driving without a license but the actor made a plea deal and pleaded no contest to providing false information.
The actor was given two years probation and his choice of a fine in the case, a spokesperson for the department told NBC News.
Smollett completed an alcohol education and treatment program in 2008, the year after the incident.
But even as evidence mounts that Smollett has committed a hoax in not one, but two, cases his family is standing by him.
“This is the media, the irresponsible media,” Jurnee Smollett-Bell posted on Twitter, a quote attributed to Malcolm X. “It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal.”
“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” a statement from his attorneys read.
“He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying,” it said.
Now it appears the California Sen. Kamala Harris has some significant connections to the case.
As the Chicago police are investigating Smollett for staging the attack Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has recused herself from the case.
And as the pieces come together many are speculating that the reason for the recusal goes back to Sen. Harris.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the decision to recuse herself was made to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case,” a spokeswoman for Foxx told ABC News.
But digging further, Foxx’s connections to Harris, which become important later, are revealed.
As the Chicago Tribune reported when Foxx was elected the head of her transition team was one Sen. Kamala Harris.
When the fake Smollett attack happened Harris was one of the first out of the gate to condemn it.
“[email protected] is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I’m praying for his quick recovery.
“This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate,” she said.
.@JussieSmollett is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I’m praying for his quick recovery.
This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 29, 2019
But now that Smollett is widely believed to have staged the attack she, like Sen. Cory Booker who also was quick to rush to judgment, now wants to wait for facts before she comments again.
“I will say this about that case,” Harris said. “I think that the facts are still unfolding, and, um, I’m very, um, concerned about obviously, the initial, um, allegation that he made about what might have happened.”
“And it’s something we should all take seriously whenever anyone, um, alleges that kind of behavior, but there should be an investigation,” she said. “And I think that once the investigation has concluded then we can all comment, but I’m not going to comment until I know the outcome of the investigation.”
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