Empire actor Jussie Smollett has been arrested after being charged with filing a false police report alleging he had been the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two men in January.
Doubts were raised over the 36-year-old’s account of the incident after US media reported that police believed he may have paid two Nigerian brothers to stage the attack.
One of the brothers is Smollett’s personal trainer and both have worked as extras on Empire.
Police in Chicago confirmed Smollett had been arrested and was now being considered as a suspect in the case.
He has been charged by Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office with disorderly conduct and filing a false police report.
If convicted, he could face probation or up to three years in prison, a Cook County State’s Attorney office spokeswoman told NBC Chicago.
The actor is due in court for a bond hearing later today.
Prior top his arrest on Thursday, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said: “Felony criminal charges have been approved by @CookCountySAO against Jussie Smollett for Disorderly Conduct / Filing a False Police Report. Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest.”
Lawyers acting on behalf of the actor have said they will mount an “aggressive defence” to the charges.
Lawyers Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said in a statement: “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.
“Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defence.”
The alleged incident led to an outpouring of support for Smollett from stars including Oscar winner Viola Davis and supermodel Naomi Campbell.