Jussie Smollett Indicted by a Chicago Grand Jury
UPDATE 8:53 p.m. EST: A Cook County grand jury returned an indictment against Jussie Smollett late Wednesday afternoon. The Empire star now faces a maximum of three years in prison if found guilty of the felony charges. According to Chicago Police Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi, authorities are working with Smollett's attorneys to “negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest."
The actor is due in court on Thursday afternoon.
UPDATE 9:24 p.m. EST: Smollett's legal team has issued a statement saying that they plan to launch a thorough investigation and mount an "aggressive" defense on their client's behalf.
UPDATE 10:16 p.m. EST: Here's the cover of tomorrow's New York Post:
Jussie Smollett is "now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation," Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed Wednesday afternoon. Smollett is being accused of filing a false police report and a grand jury is currently reviewing evidence.
The two brothers in the case, Ola and Abel Osundairo, were seen walking through the door marked “Grand Jury” at the Cook County Courthouse at around 4 p.m. Central Wednesday afternoon, according to Fox 32 Chicago reporter Rafer Weigel.
According to ABC7, subpoenas have been issued to obtain records from Smollett.
Guglielmi would not confirm reports that six subpoenas seeking Smollett's cell phone and bank records had been issued.
"The only tool for detectives to be able to corroborate information is a search warrant and a subpoena. I am not at liberty to discuss the specifics, but it is not uncommon for any detective or law enforcement to subpoena records," Guglielmi told ABC7.
CBS 2 meanwhile obtained exclusive video of the Osundairo brothers buying a red hat and ski masks from a store the day before the assault.
The video shows Ola and Abel Osundairo placing the masks and a hat on the counter. Smollett has claimed two men wearing a similar hat and masks attacked him on Jan. 29 in Streeterville, according to police. CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar made multiple phone calls and visited several stores to obtain the video.
The brothers were arrested last week and released without charges after they were interrogated.
The Osundairos reportedly plotted with Smollett to stage an attack and were paid a sum of $3,500 "to pour a chemical on the actor, and place a rope around his neck, while yelling racist and homophobic slurs."
They reportedly meant to stage the attack in front of a surveillance camera in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood, but the camera was facing the wrong direction.
Sources told CBS2 that "at least one of the brothers bought the rope used in the incident at Smollett’s request."
The sources also say Smollett paid for the rope, which was purchased at the Crafty Beaver Hardware Store in the Ravenswood neighborhood the weekend of Jan. 25.
Sources said one of the brothers held the rope and poured bleach while the other wore a plain red hat and yelled slurs at Smollett.
The sources say Smollett directed the brothers to obtain the items and that the attack was supposed to happen before Jan. 29. The brothers told detectives the three men rehearsed the attack days prior to it happening.
Smollett continues to deny staging the incident.
We will bring you more updates as they become available.