(CHICAGO) — Empire star Jussie Smollett, who claimed he was assaulted on January 29 by two men who used racial and homophobic slurs, is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by Chicago police.
According to a tweet by Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, Smollett will be charged with filing a false police report, a Class 4 felony. Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.
The news comes after Chicago police continued their investigation into the alleged attack on the Empire actor. ABC News confirmed that police and prosecutors met with Smollett’s attorneys in Chicago on Wednesday.
Guglielmi said that no evidence had been presented to a grand jury on behalf of the Smollett case on Tuesday. He also said he could not confirm reports that half a dozen subpoenas seeking Smollett’s cell phone and bank records have been issued.
Despite an initial report that Smollett was being written out of Empire, Fox has released a statement on Wednesday confirming that Smollett is still an important part of the series.
“Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show,” said Fox and 20th Century Fox TV in a statement to ABC News.
The statement was issued prior to Smollett being named a suspect.
Two brothers known to Smollett have reportedly told police that the actor paid them to orchestrate and carry out the attack. According to the brothers, Smollett was upset because a threatening letter directed at him, sent to Empire’s Chicago studios on January 22, wasn’t being taken seriously enough.
The FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are currently investigating whether Smollett played a role in sending the threatening letter himself, two federal officials confirmed to ABC News.
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