Smollett had felony criminal charges approved against him Wednesday - and turned himself into police, authorities said. He even conducted a television interview with CBS to explain the circumstances of the incident.
The investigation took a turn last week after police arrested two Nigerian-descent brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, who admitted to helping stage the attack. The Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, Eddie Johnson, said in a February 21 press conference, "First, [Jussie] attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial and political language".
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They are now considered witnesses in the attack and testified for a grand jury before Smollett's arrest, police said.
On Wednesday, they had said they were conducting a thorough investigation to form an aggressive defense.
Smollett has helped to "drag Chicago's reputation", Johnson said.
The 36-year-old star had claimed he was the victim of a shocking assault in Chicago in January, but doubt was cast over the attack and he has now been charged. Johnson explained that after the letter -which contained racist and homophobic threats, as well as a white powder that was later determined to be aspirin - didn't get the attention Smollett was seeking, he chose to stage an attack.
He claimed the two suspects beat him, poured chemicals on him and tied a rope around his neck while hurling racist and homophobic slurs at him.
He will appear before a judge for a bond hearing later on Thursday. When I said a couple of weeks ago that scammers are having a moment, I was not anticipating that Jussie Smollett would be included on that list. "Why would anyone especially an African-American man use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations", Johnson said.
Johnson shamed Smollett for exploiting racism, homophobia, and manipulating the painful symbol of a noose to further his career and public profile. Smollett has been charged with making a false report, a felony in IL.
Smollett faces up to three years in prison. Smollett came out as gay in 2015.
"My concern is that hate crimes will now publicly be met with a level of skepticism that previously didn't happen", he said.