“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has been arrested on a felony charge of disorderly conduct after allegedly filing a false police report—a class-4 felony that carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison. Smollett previously reported that he was victim to a hate-crime after alleging he was attacked by men who used racial and homophobic slurs. He also reported the assailants told him “This is MAGA country,” referencing President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.
The case made headlines and garnered extensive media coverage as well as attention from celebrities and lawmakers. Several members of Congress released statements in support of Smollett, some of which have since been removed from social media accounts.
During an appearance on Good Morning America, Smollett reiterated his account of events while denouncing his skeptics. The bizarre details of Smollett’s alleged attack drew criticism from many who described the story as being far-fetched. This was further exacerbated by reports that Chicago police were unable to find video of the alleged assault. Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx has recused herself from the case following conversations with a family member of Smollett.
The story began to unravel when authorities initially arrested brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo as suspects. The brothers claim they were paid $3,500 by Jussie Smollett to stage the attack. They were seen on video purchasing items they say were used during the attack. Smollett’s attorneys released a statement saying he enjoys the presumption of innocence for the time being.