Empire star Jussie Smollett is under arrest and currently in the custody of of Chicago police detectives, with Chicago PD Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi confirming the actor/singer's arrest Thursday morning. The arrest comes less than 12 hours after Smollett was formally charged with federal disorderly conduct for allegedly "filing a false police report (Class 4 felony)."
Law enforcement is expected to brief the media on the arrest and the investigation prior to Smollett's bail hearing appearance in court, which prosecutors are expected to have set for 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. If found guilty of the charge, Smollett could face more than three years in prison.
Based on the Illinois statute, a disorderly conduct charge occurs when a person:
"Transmits or causes to be transmitted in any manner to any peace officer, public officer or public employee a report to the effect that an offense will be committed, is being committed, or has been committed, knowing at the time of the transmission that there is no reasonable ground for believing that the offense will be committed, is being committed, or has been committed; Transmits or causes to be transmitted a false report to any public safety agency without the reasonable grounds necessary to believe that transmitting the report is necessary for the safety and welfare of the public; or Calls the number '911' for the purpose of making or transmitting a false alarm or complaint and reporting information when, at the time the call or transmission is made, the person knows there is no reasonable ground for making the call or transmission and further knows that the call or transmission could result in the emergency response of any public safety agency."
This turn of events in the investigation comes a little over three weeks after the actor/singer alleged to authorities that he was the victim of an attack on January 29 by the two men "yelling out racial and homophobic slurs," who proceeded to pour "an unknown chemical substance" on him and put a rope around Smollett's neck before fleeing the scene. At the time of the assault, Chicago Police announced that the attack was being treated as a "possible hate crime."
Originally picked up by Chicago PD on February 13 and questioned for 48 hours as "persons of interest" in the alleged attack, siblings Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo are now reported to be "fully" cooperating with law enforcement. Both brothers have been extras on the FOX series in the past, and a personal trainer to Smollett.
Last Thursday, ABC's Good Morning America aired an interview with Smollett where the actor/singer went into detail about the assualt and what life has been like for him since that time. Speaking with interviewer/GMA co-host Robin Roberts, Smollett had this to say when asked about allegation being made that the attack was a hoax:
"It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more. A lot more. And that says a lot about the place that we are in our country."
Portraying the character of Jamal Lyon on FOX's long-running and popular prime-time drama Empire since its premiere, the award-winning actor/singer was in Chicago the weekend of the alleged attack to prepare for a concert he was set to perform.