Update: Two hours after this information was released, it was revealed, as per Deadline, that Smollett was now being charged with federal disorderly conduct by the Cook County state’s attorney. Rather than seek another interview with the actor, Chicago PD will now seek, as CPD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi put it, to “negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest.” Should he be found guilty, Smollett could spend up to three years behind bars. Smollett’s lawyers have promised “aggressive defense” in light of the charges.
Original post: The twisty-turny and deeply-upsetting-either-way-it-turns-out case of Jussie Smollett has yet to be formally resolved, with key questions still up in the air. But Chicago PD aren’t taking chances. As per Variety, they’ve named the Empire actor and singer — whose claims that he was the victim of a hate crime have in the last week been called into question — as a suspect in another potential crime: filing a false police report.
The alleged incident happened over three weeks ago, and all the while Smollett has stuck by his word, alleging that he was assaulted by two men who shouted homophobic and racist epithets, doused him in bleach, and put a noose around his neck. Last week Chicago PD rounded up and interrogated two suspects. The men, Nigerian brothers, were then released, with police saying they came to believe Smollett had paid them to stage the attack.
If that turns out to be true — and, remember, nothing has been proven so far — then this could carry far-reaching implications about how police and especially society (read: social media) respond to future allegations of assault, particularly if they involve claims of bigotry.
It also means Smollett would have committed a Class 4 felony, as per Chicago PD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi, who tweeted the news that the performer is “now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by #ChicagoPolice for filing a false police report,” and that “Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.”