Only hours after Chicago Police Department Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi announced that Empire star Jussie Smollett had been "officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation" for allegedly "filing a false police report (Class 4 felony)," the actor/singer has been formally charged with federal disorderly conduct. This legal turn of events comes on the heels of the Chicago PD revealing that detectives were in the process of "presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury."
The charge was confirmed by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, and Guglielmi, who confirmed that discussions were underway for "a reasonable surrender for his arrest":
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."
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.