Jussie Smollett Indicted By Chicago Police Department For Allegedly Filing False Police Report, Will He Be Written Off 'Empire'?

Actor Jussie Smollett has been indicted by the Chicago Police Department for allegedly filing a false police report, which is a felony.

The charges come nearly three weeks after Smollett, one of the stars of FOX's Empire, said he was attacked by two men who allegedly assaulted him, hung a rope around his neck and yelled racist and homophobic slurs.

The alleged hate-crime attack on Jan. 29 put Smollett in the hospital with several injuries, including a fractured rib, and eventually led Chicago police to arrest two brothers, Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo. The two men were released from police custody after 48 hours of questioning and are no longer considered suspects in the case, CPD said. However, the brothers testified in front of a grand jury on Wednesday.

CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted Wednesday after charges were filed that detectives were working to contact Smollett's legal team "to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest."

"We are trying to be diplomatic and reasonable, and we're hoping he does the same," Guglielmi said.

According to CNN, Illinois penal code stipulates that filing a false report is considered disorderly conduct. It is considered a class 4 felony and punishable by up to three years in prison.

"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," Smolett's attorneys, Todd Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, said in a statement to Deadline. "Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense."

While 20th Century Fox and Fox Entertainment, the production studio and network behind the show, have repeatedly thrown their support behind the actor and denied that Smollett was being written off Empire, despite reports that the actor had been cut from numerous scenes.

"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," the two companies said in a joint statement on Wednesday, hours before Smollett was indicted.

Questions regarding the attack on Smollett, who is black and gay, have lingered for weeks since the attack, but it wasn't until the release of the Osundairo brothers that police said the investigation had "shifted." Two days later, authorities requested a second interview with Smollett. There are no reports that an interview ever took place, though Smollett released a statement through his attorneys to say that he would continue to cooperate with police.

According to the Associated Press, former Cook County prosecutor Andrew Weisberg said that a judge rarely places someone in jail for filing a false police report. However, if convicted, Smollett could be on the hook to pay the cost of the investigation.

While the total of the bill is unknown, Weisberg told the AP, "I can imagine that this would be easily into the hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Jussie Smollett
Jussie Smollett attends Espolòn Celebrates Day of the Dead at Academy Nightclub on November 1, 2018 in Hollywood, California. Photo by Tasia Wells/Getty Images for Espolòn
Jussie Smollett Indicted By Chicago Police Department For Allegedly Filing False Police Report, Will He Be Written Off 'Empire'? | U.S.