Jussie Smollett arrested this morning, faces felony charge

The police investigation into the alleged attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett has taken a strange twist.

The actor was taken into custody at around 5:00 a.m. this morning and is facing a felony charge for filing a false police report after claiming he was attacked on Jan. 29 by two white men whom he claimed put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him and punched him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs.

Last Friday, two brothers of Nigerian descent, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, pictured above right in an Instagram post, were spotted on surveillance video near the scene of the alleged attack, although the attack itself was not captured on video. Hours later, they boarded a plane for Nigeria, but police were waiting for them when they returned to the States.

Initially considered possible suspects, the brothers — one of whom worked on Empire as an extra — and Smollett are “gym buddies who worked out together,” according to their lawyer, Gloria Schmidt. The brothers told police they were hired by Smollett, and claim he paid them $3,500 to stage the attack, promising them another $500 when they returned from Nigeria.

According to CBS Chicago, the brothers told investigators Smollett also had them buy the rope used in the incident. They were released after being questioned.

It’s interesting to note that Smollett was charged with lying to police in 2007 when he was pulled over for a DUI in California. He was later charged with false impersonation in addition to driving under the influence and without a valid license. ~Alexandra Heilbron

Update Fri. Feb 22: Empire executive producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer announced in a written statement that Jussie Smollett’s character will not appear in the final two episodes of the season “to avoid further disruption on set.”

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Mrs. Sunshine • February 21, 2019 @ 10:58 AM

    Hello I must say this story is a sad situation and a very good look at how Hollywood and being a celebrity is horrible when you abuse this great privilege to be a paid actor in such a loved show like EMPIRE and I was such a fan of this actor and now I am completely disgusted and cant believe people could be that ruthless and disregard human beings lives and care that little of what consequences are when you commit such a vile and crime as horrible as this?? we are talking about a FELONY and incriminating TWO INNOCENT people to go to prison for a crime they did not commit!! WOW that is harsh and everything we hear today especially now in Feb. celebrating Black History Month and racial discrimination that so many black people face and then you see this man doing this??? its so unjust this world and so corrupt. This man should be removed off the show and should pay heavily for his crimes. Imagine now he could see what the real world is, not a fictitious world of the Lions as he plays in his show….so sad and so unfortunate i really liked his acting abilities and singing range…so sad…but again our society needs to take light of these matters and people need to see the realism that this is no drama series or any joking matter this is real life and people are affected and their families are too. Very sad to hear this tragic story.

  2. Kevin • February 21, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

    The whole thing seemed fishy from the start. How do you get attacked and there are no witnesses and no video tape? And you walk to the police station to tell them you were attacked? His career is over.

  3. Louis Baril • February 21, 2019 @ 11:47 AM

    Who’s the racist now? Brother!

  4. Susan • February 21, 2019 @ 12:04 PM

    So it has come to this. People are going to stage something and lie about this incident .
    That is pretty low. So disrespectful to all. How are the people you work with on “Empire” going to respect you now?

  5. Ja • February 21, 2019 @ 12:15 PM

    Truly how many in the past have been staged with huge consequences to members of the community, families etc. Perhaps one would be wise not to jump to conclusions and run on the street and react until a thorough investigation is complete.

  6. Sharon • February 21, 2019 @ 2:08 PM

    I can only shake my head on this. There has got to be something very wrong with this guy. Guess he’s not getting enough publicity for his acting and has to lie to stay relevant. This is not going to look good on his resume. I wonder what excuse he’s going to give for this.

  7. Sandie • February 21, 2019 @ 3:07 PM

    I was really holding onto the hope that the brothers were lying…I mean, who in their right mind would do something like this? It couldn’t be true, right? No one would PAY someone to beat them up, for publicity?? I guess I’m more naive than I thought

  8. Canadian Guy • February 22, 2019 @ 12:31 AM

    (Five) a.m. this morning is redundant; 5 a.m. today is correct.

  9. silvio b • February 22, 2019 @ 2:03 AM

    claiming he was attacked on Jan. 29 by two white men whom he claimed put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him and punched him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs…..wow !!!! how many blacks has called foul and used their skin color to call out something that isn’t their, you can lie but the truth will take over and shine threw

  10. Rick • February 22, 2019 @ 9:21 AM

    Innocent until proven guilty, folks.

  11. Fel • February 22, 2019 @ 12:11 PM

    Silvio b…its not just blacks that have called “foul” there are many instances throughout history where other races did the same thing . Emitt Till comes to mind a young black child that lost his life because a white woman accused him of something . If Mr .Smollett is found guilty i hope he is punished properly and made an example for all that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated

  12. Kevin • February 22, 2019 @ 3:37 PM

    Canadian guy, could have been 5 a.m. yesterday morning, haha.

  13. Mike • February 23, 2019 @ 2:47 PM

    Lock him up n put him in general population Hes an asshole pure n simple,liar Anyone who willfully lies about getting hurt should pay the price. All it does is take away true 911 calls from innocent people
    Black,white,Asian,citizen,immigrant whatever you are it doesnt give you the to put men n womens lives n hrs on the line for you. Your just screwing the true emergencies up.
    Im sure he knows right from wrong
    What an ass!

  14. Mike • February 23, 2019 @ 2:56 PM

    One other I failed to mention those 2 brothers are part of the crap that went,lockem up also,their are a part of it too (or deport them)whichever teaches them a lesson. Their as much to blame as that asshole

  15. Romona • February 24, 2019 @ 9:42 AM

    Where are the tapes from the camera inside of subway? We should all wait until all the evidence comes out. We have only seen what the police has. which they where very eager to get all this evidence out so Jussie could be judge by the public. Don’t be so quick to judge. You couldn’t even see the two men faces in the cameras so how did they know that they had the right people. I don’t believe Jussie would risk his career for a publicity stunt, I think they want us to believe this. U are innocent until proven guilty. The brothers should be charged to since they participated in the crime. If this is true what deal did these two brothers make with the police. Did they have a issue with their Visa’s so that the could continue to work in the United States? Why haven’t the police shown the copy of the receipt from the store, and a copy of the check that they claim Jussie wrote. Let’s stop judging Jussie until all the facts come out.

  16. laura coley • February 24, 2019 @ 1:15 PM

    You really have to hate our President to go to such lengths to make his supporters look like racists. He is about to pay the consequences and his reputation is scarred for life

  17. Pat • February 24, 2019 @ 10:49 PM

    All this is fishy. If one cant see the faces how did these guys get caught? Lets say they actually did this got caught and claimed Jussie paid them. They did know him knew he was in chi cut the words out of the magazines that were found in their apt once they were caught turned the table on Jussie and said he paid them to do this because they already have a check that he paid them for training somehow I cant wrap my head around the fact he sacrificed his career and everything else. If he did he needs to be punished. Im really torn because you never know what a person may do once I found out they were calling it a hoax I became angry but then I though about it and it may be a save my butt (brothers) incident. Still loads of questions without real answers praying he didnt make this up

  18. Pat • February 24, 2019 @ 10:50 PM

    All this is fishy. If one cant see the faces how did these guys get caught? Lets say they actually did this got caught and claimed Jussie paid them. They did know him knew he was in chi cut the words out of the magazines that were found in their apt once they were caught turned the table on Jussie and said he paid them to do this because they already have a check that he paid them for training somehow I cant wrap my head around the fact he sacrificed his career and everything else. If he did he needs to be punished. Im really torn because you never know what a person may do once I found out they were calling it a hoax I became angry but then I though about it and it may be a save my butt (brothers) incident. Still loads of questions without real answers praying he didnt make this up

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