Jussie Smollett in CUSTODY and could face three years’ jail charged with lying with over ‘racist attack’ as CCTV shows Empire extras buying ski masks and red hats

Jussie Smollett charged with LYING to cops and could face three years in prison as CCTV shows Empire extras buying ski masks and red hats day before ‘racist attack’

ACTOR Jussie Smollett is in custody and could face three years in jail after he is charged with lying over a ‘racist attack’ after CCTV footage cast further doubt on his story.
The Empire TV star claimed to have been set upon by racist homophobic thugs who put a noose around his neck and threw bleach in his face in Chicago last month.
BackGrid Actor Jussie Smollett is accused of staging an elaborate assault, possibly in a bizarre bid to boost his career
Chief communications officer for Chicago Police tweeted an update over the alleged fake attack
But cops later raised concerns over the gay black actor’s story – amid suggestions it was a bizarre bid to boost his career.
In a sensational development on Wednesday night, Chicago Police announced Smollett had been charged with disorderly conduct and filing a false police report.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter: “Felony criminal charges have been approved by @CookCountySAO against Jussie Smollett for Disorderly Conduct / Filing a False Police Report.
“Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest.”
Smollett could face up to three years in prison if convicted under local Illinois law.
He is due in court at 1:30pm local time on Thursday (7:30pm GMT).
Responding to the charge, Smollett’s lawyers Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said they planned to mount an “aggressive defense”.
In a joint statement, they said: “Like any other citizen, Mr Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked.
“Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”
The charge came after new CCTV footage emerged showing two brothers with connections to Smollett buying ski masks, bandannas and red hats just a day before the “attack”.
Brothers Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, 27, and Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo, 25, were allegedly paid more than £3,000 by the actor to attack him, according to several US reports.
On Wednesday they appeared before a Grand Jury – which decides whether to bring charges in big cases – for two and a half hours to testify against the actor.
The brothers’ lawyer Gloria Schmidt later told reporters they laid out how Smollett “put them up to the fake assault”, TMZ reported.
Moments before the charges were announced, Schmidt added that Smollet’s conscience “won’t let him sleep so he should come clean.”
The shocking twist in the case comes just days after A-list celebs flooded social media with their support for the 36-year-old.
Brit catwalk queen Naomi Campbell — who previously starred in hip-hop drama Empire — was one of the first to leap to Smollett’s defence.
Alongside a picture of the two of them, she called on Chicago’s mayor to catch the “despicable people” who had committed this “act of hate”.
Oscar-winner Viola Davis also shared a photo of the actor on Instagram, saying: “OMG!! This is why the LGBTQ community continue to fight to be seen and protected against hate!
“We ALL have to take this racist and homophobic act of violence very personally! My arms are around you @jussiesmollett. You are loved!”
And TV host Ellen DeGeneres, referring to an interview when the actor revealed he was gay, said: “Four years ago, @JussieSmollett came out on my show. I’m sending him and his family so much love today.”
Smollett, who was treated in hospital, had initially told police that his “attackers” were yelling racial and homophobic slurs.
And they made reference to “MAGA” – the “Make America Great Again” election catchphrase used by President Trump – the actor alleged.
Last week, a tearful Smollett told Good Morning America that he was attacked at 2am while speaking on the phone to his manager.
He said: “While I was on the phone I heard . . .  I was crossing the intersection . . . I heard ‘Empire!’ I don’t answer to Empire. My name ain’t Empire.”
Smollett, who first rose to prominence in 1992 children’s movie The Mighty Ducks, then said he heard one of them utter a racial slur.
He said: “So I turned around and said, ‘What the f*** did you just say to me?’ I see the attacker masked.”
Getting emotional, Smollett continued: “He said: ‘This MAGA country n*****’. And he punched me in the face so I punched his ass back.”
I noticed the rope around my neck and I started screaming: ‘There is a f***ing rope around my neckJussie Smollett
Smollett said they started tussling  and ended up near some stairs, as a second person kicked him in his back.
The actor claimed his attackers ran off then saw his phone had fallen out of his pocket.
His manager Brandon Moore was still on the line and Smollett said he told Brandon he had been jumped.
Then, looking down, Smollett claimed he saw a rope.
He said: “I noticed the rope around my neck and I started screaming: ‘There is a f***ing rope around my neck.’ ”
Choking up, Smollett added: “I will never be the man that this did not happen to. I am forever changed.”DOUBTS SWIRL
But doubts about the authenticity of the attack were quickly raised after the actor refused to hand over his phone to detectives.
Cops were also curious as to why the rope was still around Smollett’s neck when they arrived on the scene 30 minutes later.
He also asked responding officers to turn off their body cameras and come into his apartment — because he said he did not want neighbours witnessing the scene.
But frustrated Smollett insisted: “It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim or a Mexican or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot more.”
But his story seemingly unravelled after cops arrested two black men with connections to him.
The Osundairo brothers were held last week after leaving the US for a holiday just days after the alleged attack.
Ola — who had worked as an extra on Empire — and Abel were released when officers revealed new evidence had come to light and they were “eager to speak to” Smollett.
Cops are now understood to believe the star paid the men £2,700 to attack him and £390 when they returned from Nigeria.
They reportedly have proof that Smollett directed his “attackers” to buy the rope used in the “assault” at a local store.
The CCTV footage revealed Wednesday showed the pair buying ski masks, gloves, bandannas, sunglasses and red hats the day prior to the “attack”, CBS2 reported.
The items are similar to those reportedly worn by the “attackers”, police said.
Sources earlier told website TMZ the trio even REHEARSED   the  assault.
Following their release last week, the two brothers would only say: “We are not racist. We are not homophobic, and we are not anti-Trump.”
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Smollett’s solicitors said in an early statement: “As a victim of a hate crime, Jussie is angered . . . he has now been victimised by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack.”
Empire is set to return to screens in March.
Smollett was supposed to have nine scenes and a big musical number in the penultimate episode — which is being shot now — but five scenes have now reportedly been cut.
Jussie Smollett says there has never been a ‘closet to come out from’ on The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Police announced on Wednesday night local time that Jussie Smollett had been charged with lying to police
Twitter Empire director Lee Daniels shared this image of Jussie on Instagram after the attack but deleted it
AP:Associated Press Jussie Smollett, second from left, with co-stars from hip-hop drama Empire
The Mega Agency News of the bizarre twist has made headlines in the US
Instagram Brothers Olabinjo ‘Ola’ Osundairo, 27, and Abimbola ‘Abel’ Osundairo, 25, were held by cops but later released
AP:Associated Press Cops released CCTV footage of two suspects after the ‘attack’ in Chicago
Alamy Jussie plays gay character Jamal Lyon in the hit show
Cardi B says she’s ‘disappointed’ in Empire actor Jussie Smollett after police sources claim he fabricated a racial and homophobic ‘attack’

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