As fans of Empire know by now, Jussie Smollett has denied all rumors he staged the hate crime against him via his legal team in multiple statements! However, if in the end, it gets proven that he did indeed plan everything just to remain part of the show’s cast, the actor risks some serious repercussions.
In fact, criminal defense lawyers explained to E! News that Smollett might even be charged with felony and spend a couple of years behind bars, aside from, obviously, ruining his career!
Jussie, who is an openly gay African-American man was supposedly attacked by men in ski masks on January 29, their motivations being purely racist and homophobic.
He claimed that they would use racial and homophobic slurs, poured an ‘unknown chemical substance,’ thought to be bleach, on him and even put a rope around his neck!
However, at this time, law enforcement sources shared with CNN that the Chicago Police has come to believe, after interrogating two suspects, that Jussie ‘paid two men to orchestrate an assault on him’ for PR reasons.
One source for CBS News also shared with the news platform that the actor is now ‘facing prison time and the implosion of his career if it turns out he lied about being the target of a hate crime.’
Former federal prosecutor Phil Turner tells Variety that ‘It’s a very, very, very serious situation. He’s got some very significant exposure.’
Other legal experts also told the outlet that Jussie might even be charged with mail fraud if it turns out that the hateful letter he received one week before the attack was indeed fake.
Criminal defense lawyer Andrew Weisberg shared with HollywoodLife that ‘If it’s determined a person lied to police about a crime committed, they may be charged with a Class 4 Felony ‘Disorderly conduct.’ This is charged when a person reports to the police that an offense took place when they knew at the time that no crimes were actually committed.’
Weisberg added that it is a very serious charge since it might put him behind bars for one to three years aside from having to pay for the investigation as well as a fine of up to $25K!