In the latest update of the Jussie Smollett investigation, Chicago police are officially classifying the gay actor as a suspect.
Spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi tweeted out the development on Wednesday (20 February).
In the tweet, Guglielmi revealed police are classifying Smollett as a suspect in their investigation ‘for filing a false police report’. They are also presenting their evidence to a grand jury.
This case began at the end of January when reports came out that Smollett had been hospitalized following an attack in Chicago. These early reports indicated men in MAGA hats attacked Smollett and put a noose around his neck.
Immediately, messages of love and support began spilling out for Smollett.
When the actor gave his first interview following the alleged attack, he hit back at early skepticism surrounding the truth of his story.
‘It became a thing of like, “Oh. It’s not necessarily that you don’t believe that this is the truth, you don’t even want to see the truth,”‘ he said.
Chicago police and Smollett’s employer, Fox, which airs Empire, also both defended Smollett as a victim.
How did we get here?
Allegations of Smollett faking the attack, or involved in staging it, began gaining traction when Chicago police arrested two brothers.
Police presented the brothers with evidence of where they purchased the rope used as a noose on Smollett. Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo then claimed Smollett paid them to help orchestrate the attack.
At first, reports said Smollett did this because studio was writing him off Empire. Then, a new report stated Smollett’s motivation stemmed from Fox not taking a threatening letter addressed to him and sent to the studio seriously enough.
The FBI, however, began investigating whether or not Smollett was involved in sending the letter too.
Now, police are looking at Smollett as a suspect in their continued investigation.
Fox releases a statement
Smollett and his lawyers have not responded to this most recent development. Over the weekend, they continued to deny Smollett had any knowledge or involvement with the alleged attack.
Fox today (20 February), however, released a statement about Smollett’s status on Empire.
‘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,’ they said.