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Thursday October 22nd, 2020 11:42AM

The Latest: Police: Smollett paid brothers to stage attack

By The Associated Press
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CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on the attack reported by Jussie Smollett (all times local):

9:35 a.m.

Authorities say the investigation into the attack on "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett took a new direction when the attorney for two brothers initially viewed as suspects suggested that police question them and that the men were "victims," not offenders.

Detective Commander Edward Wodnicki said at a news conference Thursday that after questioning the brothers for nearly two days last week, they were released and investigators no longer viewed them as suspects.

Police Superintendent says Smollett paid the brothers $3,500 to stage the attack and "drag Chicago's reputation through the mud in the process."

Wodnicki says the brothers testified before a grand jury before prosecutors charged Smollett on Wednesday with felony disorder conduct for allegedly filing a false police report. He turned himself in at central booking early Thursday.

Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men as he was walking home from a Subway sandwich shop at around 2 a.m on Jan. 29. The actor, who is black and gay, said they beat him, made racist and homophobic comments, poured some unknown chemical substance on him and looped a rope around his neck before fleeing.

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9:20 a.m.

Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett "took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."

Johnson also said at a news conference Thursday that Smollett sent a racist and homophobic threatening letter to himself at the Fox studio lot before the attack. He says Smollett was dissatisfied with his salary.

Smollett, who is accused of filing a false police report, was charged Wednesday with felony disorder conduct. He turned himself in at central booking early Thursday.

Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men as he was walking home from a Subway sandwich shop at around 2 a.m on Jan. 29. The actor, who is black and gay, said they beat him, made racist and homophobic comments, poured some unknown chemical substance on him and looped a rope around his neck before fleeing.

Police say the investigation shifted after they questioned two brothers who were in the area that morning.

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5:50 a.m.

Chicago police say "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has turned himself in to face a charge of making a false police report when he said he was attacked in downtown Chicago by two men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tells The Associated Press that Smollett turned himself in early Thursday at central booking. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson plans to hold a morning news conference and Smollett is expected to appear in court later in the day.

The 36-year-old actor was charged Wednesday.

The charge could bring up to three years in prison. It could also force the actor, who's black and gay, to pay for the cost of the investigation into his report of a Jan. 29 beating.

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12 a.m.

Less than a month ago, "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett was the seemingly sympathetic victim of a hate crime. Now he's accused of a felony.

The 36-year-old actor was charged Wednesday with making a false police report when he told authorities he was attacked last month in Chicago by two men who hurled racist, anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck.

The charge could bring up to three years in prison. It could also force the actor, who is black and gay, to pay for the cost of the investigation into his report of a Jan. 29 beating.

A police spokesman says authorities are trying to negotiate Smollett's surrender.

Doubts about Smollett's account started with reports that he had not fully cooperated with police.

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Check out the AP's complete coverage of the Jussie Smollett case .

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