Brothers in Jussie Smollett case are bodybuilders, aspiring actors

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"Empire" star Jussie Smollett was charged Wednesday with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. He claimed racist and homophobic insults were hurled at him.

Eventually, ABC 7 Chicago reported that police suspected the attack was a hoax. But they were released after two days, when police said the "investigation had shifted" following interviews with the brothers.

Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says the Cook County State's Attorney's office approved the felony charge on Thursday afternoon.

A United States police official says "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett is now considered a suspect "for filing a false police report" and that detectives are presenting the case against him to a grand jury.

Authorities were trying to get in touch with Smollett's attorneys to "negotiate a reasonable surrender", Guglielmi said.

Lawyers for the Empire actor were meeting Wednesday with prosecutors and police investigators.

The probe could be handed to a grand jury this week, according to the celebrity news website TMZ, which reported on Tuesday that the actor's role on Empire has been curtailed.

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An attorney representing the Osundairos, one of whom has appeared in Empire as an extra, said last week that the brothers knew Smollett and were "horrified" to learn he was attacked. "They did not get seated before a grand jury", the CPD said in a statement on February 19.

Representatives for Jussie shared a statement with Metro.co.uk that read: '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.

Smollett said initially that two masked men assaulted him in the early hours of January 29, wrapped a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, and said, "this is MAGA country", a reference to President Donald Trump's Make America Great Again slogan, as they fled the scene.

Reports that followed claim Jussie had "paid the two men to orchestrate the attack" - allegations he has denied. As they fled the scene the men yelled, "This is MAGA country!" according to Smollett.

"As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with", Smollett's attorneys said in a statement.

"Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying", Pugh and Henderson said in a statement Saturday.

"There was a point where this story needed to be told, and they manned up and they said we're going to correct this", Gloria Schmidt said.

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