Jussie Smollett’s assault case will reportedly be heard by a grand jury this week.
Last month, the Empire star alleged he was the victim of a racist and homophobic assault in Chicago, telling police that two men tied a rope noose around his neck and poured a bleach-like liquid over him.
Brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo were detained on Thursday and described as “potential suspects”, however, they were released without charge the following day.
And, as rumours continue to swirl that Smollett may have staged the attack amid claims his character was being written off the hit U.S. TV show, TMZ.com have now reported that the case is heading to a grand jury.
A grand jury is brought in to ascertain whether or not a “crime has been committed by a criminal suspect”. If they find, based on the evidence presented, that it has, they can issue an indictment for the crime, known as a “true bill”.
Smollett has strenuously denied the allegations that he orchestrated the attack, and said in a statement through his lawyers on Saturday that he was “angered and devastated” by the rumours, and was being “victimised” by the Chicago Police Department.
The 36-year-old actor is still being supported by his friends at this troubling time, with Empire executive producer Brett Mahoney tweeting on Saturday: “I believe and stand by @JussieSmollett . Keep your head up. @EmpireWriters @EmpireFOX.”
Director Ava DuVernay also admitted she was dubious about believing the Chicago P.D., tweeting: “Despite the inconsistencies, I can’t blindly believe Chicago PD. The department that covered up shooting (17-year-old Chicago resident) Laquan McDonald over a dozen times? That operated an off-site torture facility? That one? I’ll wait. Whatever the outcome, this won’t stop me from believing others. It can’t.”