Though defense lawyers insisted Smollett need to get back to work on Empire, the judge today called the incident “utterly despicable” if the actor is found guilty. Smollett’s attorneys said today that Fox has “pushed” back production this week for Smollett on the series
If found guilty in this case, Smollett could face up to three years in jail for the charges. More than likely, the prosecution and lawyers will strike a deal that will include probation, a source close to the situation told me today.
Thought almost inconceivable mere weeks ago, the bond court hearing today comes after the lawyer accompanied Smollett turned himself in early this morning.
As the multiple felony charged actor sat in an isolated cell, Chicago Police stepped in front of the cameras on Thursday for what became a damning press conference. Highlighted by a openly “pissed” off Superintendent Eddie Johnson the Windy City cops claimed that Smollett “orchestrated this crime” and the attack last month to “promote his career” and get a pay raise by taking “advantage of the pain and anger of racism.”
No longer after that scathing stint in front of the microphones and cameras, Empire broadcaster Fox released its most tepid statement of support in the Smollett matter. “We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options,” declared 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment.
Those options could be seeing Smollett suspended or even booted off Empire just days after Fox was adamant that the actor was to the Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard led hip hop drama.
The incident originally was described by Smollett as an attack that left him beaten, drenched in bleach and with a rope slung around his neck. Previously identified by cops as the individuals in the photos of “persons of interest” in the case, brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo are said to be “fully” cooperating with authorities now.
The siblings were seen Wednesday entering the criminal courtroom in downtown Chicago, where a recently convened grand jury is sitting. At the same time, subpoenas were issued for police and other law enforcement agencies to go through Smollett’s phone, financial and other records and files.