Jussie Smollett’s mugshot has been released by the Chicago Police Department after the “Empire” actor has been charged with felony disorderly conduct. This comes less than a month after Smollett, 36, first told police that he had been attacked in a racist and homophobic assault in Chicago. Smollett had said that his assailants referenced Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan as he was attacked in the Streeterville neighborhood of the city.
On February 21, Smollett handed himself into Chicago cops to answer to one count of felony disorderly conduct as he was accused of making a false police report. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced the arrest in a press conference. Johnson began the press conference by stating his wish that the victims of gun violence in Chicago got as much attention from the media as Smollett’s case did. Johnson referred to Smollett’s case as a “publicity stunt.” Johnson said that Smollett orchestrated the attack because he was dissatisfied with his salary.
If convicted, Smollett could face up to three years in prison as well as seeing Smollett being forced to pay for the cost of the investigation. Cook County District Attorney Kim Foxx has recused herself in the case citing familiarity with potential witnesses in the case. Smollett is being represented by a legal team including Todd Pugh, Victor Henderson and Mark Geragos.
A week prior to Smollett’s arrest, police in Chicago raided the homes of Ola and Abel Osundairo in relation to the case. Afterward, the Osundairo brothers were taken into police custody on suspicion of battery. The pair, who were known to have been friendly with Smollett, were later released after police said interrogators had received new evidence. CNN reports that the brothers told police that Smollett had paid them $3,500 to stage the attack.
Both Abel, 27, and Ola, 25, are aspiring actors and bodybuilders, Ola had even appeared in an episode of “Empire.” Subsequent surveillance video was released showing the brothers items thought to have been used in the attack in a store. The brothers, who are originally from Nigeria, fled to their homeland for two weeks after the alleged attack. They were taken into custody upon their return. Prior to the attack, Smollett said that he had received death threats to the set of “Empire.”
The brothers’ lawyer, Glodia Schmidt, told the media as news of Smollett’s arrest emerged, “I think that Jussie’s conscience is probably not letting him sleep right now, so I think he should unload that conscience and just come out and tell the American people what actually happened.”