Jussie Smollett Apologizes But Says He’s Still Innocent

As of Friday, Feb. 22, police allege that Empire actor Jussie Smollett paid two brothers $3,500 to attack him. Investigators have the check Smollett used to pay the brothers. Their motivation for participating was money.  

Jussie Smollett|Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
Jussie Smollett|Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Smollett was arrested Thursday morning on the possibility that the actor filed a false report about the January 29 attack. According to CNN, “The revelations necessary to charge Smollett came during the 47th hour of a 48-hour holding period for the brothers, who eventually confessed to the alleged plot.”

After he was arrested, he appeared in court, paid a $10,000 bond and was released. Smollett gave up his passport and will remain under supervision until the case is adjudicated. A statement Smollett released said the bail hearing was simply an organized law enformcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system.   

“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 statement said

Jussie Smollett allegedly sent the studio a fake threatening letter prior to the incident

A week before the alleged attack, a threatening letter was sent to the set of Empire. The envelope contained a white powder, later determined to be aspirin, and a drawing of a stick figure hanging from a tree. According to prosecutors, Smollett had discussed with Abimbola Osundairo, one of the brothers involved, how he was dissapointed in Empire’s reaction to the letter. Once in custody, the men told officers that Smollett first “attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language. When that didn’t work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack,” according to the police superintendent.    

The 20th Century Fox Television statement

Jussie Smollett |Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images
Jussie Smollett |Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

When it first became a possibility that the attack was orchestrated by Smollett, 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment stood by the actor.

“The idea that Jussie Smollett has been, or would be, written off of ‘Empire’ is patently ridiculous,” read the first statement. “He remains a core player on this very successful series and we continue to stand behind him.”

But after his arrest, the studio released this statement:

“We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process,” 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said in a statement to CNN. “We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”

The show is filming the season finale this week and next. Smollett is currently on hold for today’s shoot.

Jussie Smollett apologized to the cast of ‘Empire’

On Thursday evening Smollett gave an apology to the cast and crew of Empire. He apologized for any embarrassment the recent allegations may have caused, but he maintained that he is innocent, a person who heard the apology told CNN.

The source went on to tell CNN they were “shocked and dismayed” that Smollett still insisted on his innocence. They also said the actor mostly just paraphrased the statement his attorney had released that afternoon, which blamed the legal system and media for his current situation.  

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