Jussie Smollet's defense team is presenting a strong front after the actor was indicted on felony charges.
The Empire star was charged with felony disorderly conduct after allegedly filing a false police report. The news comes after weeks of twists and turns resulting from Chicago P.D. investigating the events surrounding his "hate crime" in late January.
In response to the charges, Smollett's lawyers Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson released a statement on his behalf.
"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," the statement read. "Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense."
Smollett claimed on Jan. 39 that he was attacked by two men who poured an unknown chemical on him, put a robe around his neck and used racial and homophobic slurs. After a days long search, authorities arrested and questioned Abel and Ola Osundairo but quickly released them.
The brothers claimed that Smollett had paid them to stage the attack, with other tips seemingly corroborating the actor's involvement in planning the incident.
One of the brothers had worked with Smollett on the set of Empire as an extra. Security footage appeared to show them with Smollett in the elevator of his apartment building shortly before the "attack," and police suspect the actor paid them $3,500 for their involvement.
The charges against Smollett come after the Osundairo brothers testified before a grand jury in Chicago. The actor is expected to attend a bond hearing on Thursday afternoon.
"Felony criminal charges have been approved by @CookCountySAO against Jussie Smollett for Disorderly Conduct / Filing a False Police Report," Chicago P.D. Chief Communications Officer Guglielmi wrote on Twitter. "Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest."
Smollett and his legal team have maintained his innocence throughout the investigation, previously issuing a statement to Deadline last week.
"As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with," the statement read. "He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying."0comments