On Thursday at 5:15 a.m. local time, "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett turned himself in to authorities according to Chicago police, who say he was charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false report.
Later on Thursday morning, the Chicago Police Department held a press conference in which it detailed the findings against Smollett. CPD Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said that Smollett "took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."
Sunny Hostin said she saw "real anger" from Johnson and Chicago's Police Department during the press conference, and "rightfully so," because of the time spent and resources used to conduct the investigation.
"I remember spending hours upon hours when I was prosecuting cases in victims' homes," Sunny said, recalling her time practicing law. "Begging them to testify. Begging them to come forward. And by and large, many of them were afraid they would not be believed."
Johnson alleges Smollet staged the attack because he was "dissatisfied with his salary," and that he also sent a hate-filled letter to himself at the Fox studio.
"Why would anyone, especially an African American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?" Johnson said. "How can an individual who's been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in the city in the face with these false claims?"
The department intends to conduct a "thorough investigation" and "mount an aggressive defense" against the "Empire" actor, Johnson said.
Joy Behar took a serious tone to the allegations against Smollett.
"I don't want to make light of this, but when you're dissatisfied with your salary, you have an agent for that, or a lawyer," Behar said. "To go to this type of extreme because of salary is ridiculous."
On Jan. 29, Smollett alleged that he was attacked by two men wearing masks just blocks from his apartment in Chicago at approximately 2 a.m. He went on to claim that the unknown attackers poured "an unknown chemical substance" on him, wrapped a noose around his neck and shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him, including "MAGA country," which apparently referred to President Trump's 2016 campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."
Meghan McCain said the reason the attack "started getting so much attention is because [Smollett] brought politics into this."
McCain brought up the shooting of 1-year-old Dijon "Chase" Walker on Chicago's South Side. The incident happened on Feb. 7 and it left Chase on life support. "I wish one of these detectives would've just been put on that case and solved an actual crime that needs solving," McCain said.
Days before Smollett filed a police report about the attack, he crossed paths with Ana Navarro in Miami, where she says he spoke on a panel "passionately and emotionally about inclusion and representation and equality for LGBTQ and minorities."
When Navarro heard about the alleged attack against Smollett, she says she believed him. Now, she feels "duped" and "pissed" learning the recent developments in his investigation.
"I am going to need more than an apology. He's going to have to pay very serious consequences."
Abby Huntsman looked back on Smollett's exclusive interview with "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts, where he said he intended to speak to his "doubters."
"I'm just wondering what's going through his mind," Huntsman said about Smollett's negative impact on Chicago. "How does he look himself in the mirror when [he] gets up in the morning? How do you go to bed at night?"
At a pretrial hearing on Thursday, Smollett's bond was set at $100,000 and he was told to surrender his passport and maintain pre-trial monitoring. His next court date is March 14.
While previously supportive of the "Empire" actor, 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment released a new statement on the incident. “We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options," the company said.
Smollett’s attorneys continue to maintain he did not play a role in his own attack.
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