‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett, who has come under scrutiny for possibly orchestrating an alleged hate crime against himself, provided false statements to police following a DUI arrest in 2007.
NBC News reports, based on information confirmed by the L.A. City Attorney’s Office, that Smollett was arrested on suspicion of DUI, and pleaded no contest that charge and additional charges of providing false statements to law enforcement and driving without a license.
According to the New York Post, Smollet reportedly gave the officer who stopped him his brother’s name instead of his own, and later used a false name on a written promise to appear in court. He was initially charged with false impersonation but reportedly had the charge reduced to providing false statements,
The L.A. City Attorney’s spokesperson told NBC News that Smollett was sentenced to two years probation and a choice between jail or a fine. The report does not specify which he chose.
Law enforcement sources told the news outlet that Chicago police have requested information about the 2007 arrest from Los Angeles authorities.
Smollett reported to police that he had been assaulted in the early morning hours of January 29 in Chicago by two men who hurled racial and homophobic slurs, tied a rope around his neck, and poured a chemical, possibly, bleach on him. But multiple reports have indicated that Smollett may have orchestrated that attack; and law enforcement sources have said he paid the two men who purportedly assaulted him. The two brothers were arrested last week upon their return from a brief trip to Nigeria, and have since been released, as they reportedly continue to cooperate with police.
Chicago police are reportedly focusing the investigation on a possible false report, according to NBC News, and have not said they consider Smollett a suspect or a victim. They are reportedly seeking to question him again, but it is unclear if Smollett has made arrangements to meet with them.