Community reacts after Jussie Smollett charged with making false report


"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 attorneys said in a statement.

The rest of the release went on to praise the actor's character and reiterate his stance on the highly controversial matter.

The black and gay star said he was attacked by two men who yelled racist and homophobic slurs, but police say that's not what happened.

In his account, Smollett said his attackers also shouted "This is MAGA country", referring to Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan. He said they hit him, poured an unknown chemical substance on him and wrapped a rope around his neck.

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20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment initially stood behind the actor and his role on "Empire", but his future is now under review. "We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have made a decision to remove the role of "Jamal" from the final two episodes of the season".

Smollett proceeded to apologize to the show's cast and crew for any embarrassment his arrest and allegations against him may have caused - but he also told them he's innocent, CNN reported, citing an individual at the on-set meeting.

"Empire" is in the midst of filming its season finale in Chicago.

Facing a barrage of criticism from openly "pissed" off law enforcement officials, prosecutors and TV talking heads, Smollett was released on $100,000 bail and had his passport revoked during the downtown Chicago court appearance Thursday. Prosecutors say that Smollett mailed the letter himself, opening up the possibility of federal charges being filed.

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Johnson said Smollett, 36, choreographed the attack because he was dissatisfied with his salary.

Smollett's attorneys wrote that he, like any other citizen, "enjoys the presumption of innocence" and that they meant to "mount an aggressive defense".

Following the highly publicized arrest, the network said they were "evaluating the situation" and "considering [their] options".

Once considered by Chicago police to be the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime, Smollett now faces a felony charge for allegedly filing a false police report about the incident. His next hearing is scheduled for March 14.

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