Jussie Smollett apologizes to 'Empire' cast, crew

Feb 23, 2019, 01:35
Jussie Smollett apologizes to 'Empire' cast, crew

The statement comes hours after Smollett, who claimed he was the subject of a racist and homophobic attack at the hands of two men on January 29 in Chicago, was present in bond court on Thursday afternoon, just hours after turned himself into police.

The men told officers that Smollett, who is black and gay, first "attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language".

Smollett reported the attack to police who investigated it as a possible hate crime. Police say scratches on Smollett's face were likely self-inflicted.

The case against Jussie Smollett could do more than lead to a conviction for the "Empire" star - some experts see the allegations he orchestrated an attack created to look like a hate crime as a potentially fatal blow to his career.

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Jussie Smollett is "fiercely" maintaining his innocence after he was released from jail.

The sequence of events reads like the plot of a television show: A man stages his own attack and rehearses it beforehand, making sure there's a surveillance camera nearby to record it.

Video footage showed the two brothers in a store buying items described by Smollett as being used in the attack, including a red cap.

Speaking on CBSN following the press conference in Chicago, CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds said he's covered Johnson for several years and has "seldom heard him as angry as he was today". He appeared in court Thursday afternoon where a judge set his bond at $100,000 and ordered him to turn in his passport.

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Smollett is "on hold" for Friday's shoot, per the production schedule that was recently released to cast and crew.

"The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election", the statement continues. Harris, a former prosecutor and California attorney general, did not use in her initial statement on the Smollett incident, calling it an "attempted modern day lynching".

Similar to a statement that was released by his legal team on Thursday evening, Smollett proclaimed his "innocence" to the Empire team, but the powers-that-be already felt the situation was untenable. His next court hearing has been set for March 14.

If Smollett is found guilty, falsifying a police report is a Class 4 felony which carries a potential sentence of up to three years in prison.

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