“Empire” star Jussie Smollett was charged Wednesday night with lying to cops when he claimed to be the victim of a racist and homophobic attack — and authorities want him to surrender, police said.
Chicago PD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Smollett was charged with filing a false police report, a felony, after the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office approved the criminal complaint. Cops were seeking to have Smollett turn himself in as soon as possible, Gugliemi said.
“We’re trying to get in touch with his lawyers,” he told The Post.
Under Illinois law, Smollett, 36, could face up to three years in prison if convicted of the crime.
The development came hours after Smollett was formally classified as a suspect and followed a stream of recent reports that increasingly cast doubt on the TV actor’s story, including that two brothers told investigators Smollett had paid them $3,500 to stage the Jan. 29 incident.
Siblings Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo were escorted into the grand-jury offices at Chicago’s Leighton Criminal Court Building about 30 minutes before Smollett was formally named a suspect.
The two men were surrounded by about a half-dozen people in civilian clothing as they walked into the secure area on the fourth floor of the courthouse around 3:45 p.m. local time.
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SOURCE: Page Six, Gabrielle Fonrouge