Jussie Smollett: 'Empire' Star 'Aware' of Possible Federal Charges

Jussie Smollett is not done with the legal consequences of his alleged hate crime.

After Chicago prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against the Empire star, Smollett is reportedly aware of the possibility he might be hit with federal charges stemming from claims he staged an attack on himself at the end of January.

According to the Hot Hollywood podcast, Smollett "is aware that federal charges are being investigated against him."

"Jussie is being scrutinized because he is unwilling to testify against the brothers in the state's case because he just wants to put this behind him," a source told the podcast, adding that Smollett's lawyers don't want the actor to "be questioned by the feds."

Prosecutors dropped all 16 felony charges against the actor after he was arrested for allegedly staging his racist and homophobic attack and filing a false police report, Us Weekly writes.

Prior to the arrest, brothers Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo were arrested as suspects in the attack, but were later released without being charged. The booking led police to shift gears in their investigation and starting to look at Smollett as a suspect for staging the attack.

Smollett, who maintained his innocence throughout the investigation, broke his silence after the charges against him were dropped.

"I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago, and all over the country and the world who have prayed for me, who have supported me, who have shown me so much love," he told press on March 26. "No one will ever know how much that's meant to me and I will be forever grateful."

"But make no mistake, I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality, and betterment of marginalized people everywhere. Again, thank you for all the support, thank you for faith, and thank you to God. Bless you all. Thank you very much," he added.

Smollett has kept a relatively low profile since the charges were dropped, being spotted running errands and not engaging with paparazzi.


The actor is set to exit Empire for the last two episodes of Season 5 after producers chose to write him off the remaining episodes to avoid disruptions to filming. Series star Taraji P. Henson, however, said during a recent appearance on The View that he will be back for the show if it is renewed for Season 6.

Empire airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.