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Chicago PD: Jussie Smollett Staged Attack Because He Was Unhappy With Empire Salary

On Thursday morning, Chicago PD held a press conference to discuss the indictment filed against Empire star Jussie Smollett on felony charges of filing a false police report related to an allegedly staged hate crime.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson led the presser and said that Smollett staged the attack because he was “dissatisfied with his salary” from the TV show. A source told Huffington Post that Smollett earned $65,000 per episode.

Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Johnson told reporters.

Johnson said that Smollett paid brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo to stage the attack with a check for $3,500, which the police claims to have in its possession. The police chief said that the bruises and scratches on Smollett’s face were likely self-inflicted as the brothers wore gloves during the planned attack. Johnson also pointed to surveillance video of the brothers buying the noose, masks and other items used in the staged incident in a Chicago beauty store.

Smollett turned himself in to police early Thursday morning and his mugshot has been released. He is due back in court for a bond hearing later today.

“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’s attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said in a statement issued Wednesday night. “Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”

Smollett faces up to three years in prison.