Jussie Smollett turned himself in to police early Thursday morning, the Chicago Police Department confirmed to NBC Chicago. His arrest came just a few hours after the CPD charged him on Wednesday evening with disorderly conduct in filing a false police report, related to his alleged attack on January 29. The charge is a class four felony that could result in a sentence ranging from probation to three years in prison, per NBC. Smollett is scheduled to appear at a bond hearing on Thursday afternoon.
The actor has continued to maintain his innocence as the narrative surrounding the purported hate crime has changed course in recent weeks. “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,” his legal team said in a statement on Wednesday, according to CNN. “Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”
On January 29, Smollett filed a police report claiming that, early that morning, on his way home from a Subway restaurant, he’d been approached by two men who yelled racist and homophobic slurs, poured an unidentified liquid on him, and put a noose around his neck. At the time, CPD began investigating the report as a hate crime. In the ensuing three weeks, however, subsequent claims have been made that effectively turned Smollett’s role in the alleged attack from victim to suspect, culminating in his arrest this week.
Last week, CPD arrested and then released brothers Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, and confirmed in a statement that their questioning of the men, believed to be the two involved in the attack, had “shifted the trajectory of the investigation.” While outlets have reported that sources close to the investigation had begun looking into whether Smollett may have orchestrated the entire attack and paid the two men to attack him, his legal team continued to deny those allegations. “Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying,” they said in a statement on Sunday.
In an interview with Good Morning America earlier this month, Smollett suggested that he’d been targeted because of his outspoken criticism of Donald Trump, and expressed his disappointment at those doubting his account. “It’s the attackers, but it’s also the attacks,” he said. “It’s not that you don’t believe this is the truth, you don’t even want to see this is the truth.” He continued, “It feels like if I had said [the attacker] was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would’ve supported me a lot more, and that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now.”
But, he added, “I still want to believe, with everything that has happened, that there’s something called justice.”