Actor Jussie Smollett was charged on Wednesday with lying to police when he claimed he was attacked and beaten on the streets of Chicago by two masked men shouting racist and homophobic slurs, police said on Wednesday as they sought his arrest.
Smollett, a 36-year-old black, openly gay actor on the hip-hop TV drama "Empire," ignited a firestorm on social media by telling police on Jan 29 that two apparent supporters of US President Donald Trump struck him, put a noose around his neck and poured bleach over him.
"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," police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter.
The New York Times, citing unnamed law enforcement sources, said Smollett had been indicted by an Illinois grand jury that found probable cause that he had staged the attack.