Jussie Smollett's character cut from season's final 2 episodes of 'Empire'

CNN’s Van Jones compared

In his account, Smollett said his attackers also shouted "This is MAGA country", referring to Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan. Smollett's family showed their solidarity with their brother who has received enormous public backlash in the past several weeks. "I think MAGA supporters have painted themselves as that", Cross said.

The revelations necessary to charge Smollett came during the 47th hour of a 48-hour holding period for the two men, who eventually confessed to the alleged plot, Johnson said.

"We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show", the statement read, "and to avoid further disruption on set, we have made a decision to remove the role of "Jamal" from the final two episodes of the season".

Investigators believe Smollett staged the attack "because he was dissatisfied with his salary", Johnson said, citing information that the Osundairos gave to police. Smollett reported that two masked men beat him, used racist and homophobic slurs, doused him in a chemical substance and draped a noose around his neck before fleeing.

Chicago police allege Smollett paid two men $3,500 to stage an attack on him last month. That cooperation is nearly certainly the main reason they haven't been charged.

A fake story by a mediocre actor is not the same as fake news by the media.

Smollett's attorneys wrote that he, like any other citizen, "enjoys the presumption of innocence" and that they meant to "mount an aggressive defense".

Johnson said the department would continue to investigate hate crimes with the same vigor, but feared that victims of hate crimes will "be met with a level of skepticism that previously didn't happen".

In a statement submitted to The Hollywood Reporter Thursday night, Smollett's lawyers said: "Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system".

Immediately after his release on bond Thursday, Smollett was whisked to the set of "Empire". The show's network Fox said Thursday it was "evaluating the situation", and that it understood "the seriousness of this matter".

F eb. 20: Police publicly named Smollett as a suspect in the criminal investigation and hours later confirmed that the Cook County state's attorney's office had charged him with disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report regarding the incident. Smollett is due back in court March 14.

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