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Smollett on $100K bond

Empire star Jussie Smollett has been released on $100,000 bond following his arrest for filing a false police report.

The actor/singer is facing felony charges, including disorderly conduct, for purportedly lying about being the victim of a brutal hate crime outside his Chicago, Illinois apartment building on Jan. 29.

At the time, he told police two masked white men had hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him, before beating him up, pouring a bleach-like liquid on him, and tying a noose rope around his neck.

However, prosecutors now believe Smollett staged the attack himself, hiring Nigerian brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo to take part in the alleged assault, in exchange for a payment of $3,500.

Smollett was arrested early on Thursday and subsequently appeared before a judge for a hearing, during which his lawyer Jack Prior asked for the 36 year old to be released on his own recognisance.

However, Judge John Lyke dismissed the idea as "totally inappropriate," given the charges filed against his client, who is accused of organising the alleged assault, with text messages between Smollett and the Osundairos supposedly revealing he even gave them $100 to buy supplies for the hoax.

Prosecutors insist Smollett resorted to the ploy after becoming dismayed at the way officials had handled an investigation into a threatening letter he is said to have sent to himself at the Fox Studios in Chicago, where he films Empire, a week earlier.

Responding to the defence lawyer's request, the judge said, "The state read to me a proffer that, if true, is totally outrageous."

Prior admitted the evidence presented was sensational, but argued, "These are outrageous allegations, but my client vehemently denies all this."

"He is not a threat to society, and is not a flight risk," the legal representative said. He came back yesterday from out of state, knowing charges were imminent. He surrendered this morning at 5 am and wants nothing more than to clear his name."

His comments failed to sway the judge, who set bond at $100,000 and ordered Smollett to surrender his passport. He must also avoid all contact with the Osundairo brothers, who had initially been interviewed by police as potential suspects in the assault. They were released without charge after sharing their side of the story, and they gave evidence to members of a grand jury on Wednesday, before Smollett was indicted.

The actor, who appeared solemn during the 10-minute hearing, remained silent as the bond ruling was made, and he didn't speak to reporters as he was released hours later.

Smollett's hearing occurred after Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson blasted the star for allegedly "orchestrating" the reported attack as a "publicity stunt", which he claimed was designed to raise his profile after growing unhappy with his pay from hit hip-hop drama series Empire.

Meanwhile, TV bosses at Fox, the network behind the show, have yet to make a decision about Smollett's future on the program, explaining they are "evaluating the situation" and "considering our options."



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