News Gets Worse for Jussie Smollett

The official charge is 'felony disorderly conduct'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 20, 2019 5:03 PM CST
Updated Feb 20, 2019 7:22 PM CST

(Newser) Empire actor Jussie Smollett was charged Wednesday with making a false police report when he said he was attacked in downtown Chicago by two men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck, police said. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said prosecutors charged Smollett with felony disorderly conduct, an offense that could bring one to three years in prison and force the actor to pay for the cost of the investigation into his report of a Jan. 29 beating, per the AP. Police were trying to get in touch with Smollett's attorneys to "negotiate a reasonable surrender," Guglielmi said. That could involve Smollett turning himself in to a Chicago police station. He said he did not have a time frame for how long the actor would be given.

"We are trying to be diplomatic and reasonable, and we're hoping he does the same," Guglielmi said. The charges emerged on the same day detectives and two brothers who were earlier deemed suspects testified before a grand jury. Smollett's attorneys met with prosecutors and police, but it was unknown what they discussed or whether Smollett attended the meeting. The attorneys did not reply to requests for comment. The announcement of the charges came after a flurry of activity in recent days that included lengthy interviews of the brothers by authorities, a search of their home and their release after police cleared them. Investigators have not said what the brothers told detectives or what evidence detectives collected. Click for the full story. (Or see another unexpected turn in his case Wednesday.)

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