CHICAGO (CelebrityAccess) — A spokesman for the Chicago Police Department confirmed on Wednesday that ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett is officially the subject of a criminal investigation for filing a false police report.
“Jussie Smollett is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by #ChicagoPolice for filing a false police report (Class 4 felony),” Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a tweet on Wednesday.
“Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury,” he added.
Guglielmi declined to comment on reports that Smollett’s cell phone and bank records had been subpoenaed in the case.
According to the Associated Press, Smollett’s attorneys met with prosecutors and police earlier Wednesday afternoon but did not respond to requests for comment.
On January 29th, Smollett reported that he was subjected to a racially charged assault by a group of individuals who he claims made homophobic statements and yelled “This is MAGA country” — an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” — before placing a rope around his neck and fleeing the scene.
Since then, police have been unable to verify the details of the attack.
Smollett also claimed that a week before the alleged assault, he received an envelope addressed to him at production studios on Chicago’s West Side. The envelope had a local postmark and was labeled with MAGA on the return address. Smollett told police he and the show’s executive producer used gloves to open the envelope, where they found a cut-out letter threat reading “You will die black (expletive).”
The envelope also contained a white powder that turned out to be crushed acetaminophen, a pain reliever available in over-the-counter medication, according to police.
Smollett is cast on the Fox drama “Empire” which tells the story of a fictional African-American family in the record industry. Smollett’s character in the show is the gay son of the label’s founder.
Earlier on Wednesday, Fox issued a statement in support of Smollett, stating, that he “continues to be a consummate professional on set,” and it has reiterated that he’s not being written out of the show.