Actor Jussie Smollett's character on "Empire" will be removed from the final two episodes of this season in the wake of his arrest on charges that he staged a racist, anti-gay attack on himself last month in downtown Chicago, producers of the Fox TV show announced Friday.
But then, to the shock and dismay of the person who attended the meeting, Smollett stuck to his story of innocence. "Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing".
The Walt Disney Co secured a $71 billion deal in July to acquire 21st Century Fox Inc's film and television assets, which means "Empire" will belong to the production company. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson plans to hold a morning news conference and Smollett is expected to appear in court later in the day. Smollett's story drew an outpouring of sympathy and condemnations of the attack from several politicians, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Donald Trump and Sen. Both instances, per police, stemmed from Smollett's allegedly being "dissatisfied with his salary".
A second accusation has left observers wondering if the current charge could be the least of Smollett's problems. "It's about an insane hoax propped up and promulgated as "Trump's America" for political purposes".
Federal law enforcement sources tell us they're still investigating the letter and have drawn no conclusions.
Police outlined their case against the 36-year-old actor at a news conference on Thursday, saying he paid the two brothers $3,500 to help him stage a bigoted attack against him early on January 29 in downtown Chicago. "Well it's not happening, because Jussie is going to jail".
But two brothers arrested on suspicion of involvement in the case-Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, who reportedly worked on Empire-later claimed the actor paid them to attack him. He received two years probation for his actions.
According to Johnson, the American-born brothers left for Nigeria shortly after the staged attack and were detained February 13 upon arriving back in Chicago. Johnson said. "How could this individual who has been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?"
"Didn't he in fact attempt to paint the MAGA supporters as these racist and homophobic people?"
Noah broke down some of the newer details about the case on Thursday night's show - for example, that Smollett wrote his two "attackers" checks for their work.