The latest twist in a narrative surrounding actor Jussie Smollett’s hate-crime claims included the “Empire” star’s reported admission to police that he has a drug dependency that has not been treated.
According to Page Six, he made the claim after surrendering to authorities on Thursday on a fourth-degree felony charge of filing a false police report.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the 36-year-old actor claimed he was attacked last month outside of a Chicago-area Subway restaurant by a pair of assailants shouting racist and homophobic taunts.
Investigators have since alleged that he paid two acquaintances to orchestrate the attack because he was dissatisfied with his salary from the television series.
Smollett might be planning to cite his drug problem as a mitigating factor that could reduce his sentence if he is ultimately convicted, TMZ reported.
According to court documents, he denied having problems with alcohol or mental issues. But authorities have already claimed that he purchased illegal narcotics from Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo, one of the two brothers Smollett allegedly paid to stage the assault.
The show’s production company confirmed Smollett’s character has been cut from the final two episodes of the season, according to CNN.
Following his release on bail, he reportedly visited the set to apologize for the embarrassment the ordeal has caused while maintaining he is innocent of the allegations against him.
His legal team previously released a similar statement on his behalf.
“Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system,” the statement read. “The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a mayoral election. 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.”