Jussie Smollett arrested on felony charge

Chicago police give an update on the arrest of the "Empire" star.
16:35 | 02/21/19

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Transcript for Jussie Smollett arrested on felony charge
We are watching the Chicago Police Department wrap up oppressors cents a laying out the case against empire accurate just see small let small let turned himself in. This morning he's now facing felony charges for allegedly filing. Up false police report all this. After saying that he was attacked in an alleged hate crime. About a month ago small let had said that he was attacked he had a noose put around his neck. And yet chemicals thrown in his eyes police now say that whole attack was orchestrated and not just that. But a racist letter sent to empire was also. Orchestrated. Let's go over to our correspondent you the pilgrim who's been following this case. Very closely in it isn't and one of those stories that it was just constantly unfolding so many twists and turns and now we finally got. What sounds like the whole thing laid out forced by the Chicago Police Department. Well with the like an oppressor. Well as you listen to that police officers talking about how they put this case together basically you hear them talk about just good police work. They look to the cameras in that area they found. More than thirty city of Chicago cameras that they left that to see if they can see those two men. The potential suspects in those cameras they also look at about twenty private security cameras as well and they were able to follow what happened in those moments where those men went. And then were able to back track them to see where they came from and that was part and how they were able to determine. Who those two men were then they bring those men in they sit down with those men and they talk to them for awhile. Those two men then bring their attorney and and she goes to police and says hey guys. Their son even more in this story I think he need to talk to my clients. And that's when the story. Broke open in the version that we're now hearing that this entire thing was made up it was a hoax orchestrated by Jesse smell what not just that. And packed the alleged attack but also that letter that he sent in the week prior to the attack. The tip this afternoon he is expected to be in bond court where we you'll likely hear a few more deet tails about exactly how this all played out right. And it even this whole thing police say was because Malek was unhappy with his salary and I guess who's hoping to elevate his profile with all of this. And as you said it started it sounds like. With that letter what do we know about that letter. And you heard the police superintendent he was clearly very upset by what has transpired here in his city a and that after that as police officers and had to get to particularly because of the nature of this crime such as sensitive. Crime both homophobic slurs and racist slurs you throw in the fact and that. The letter and that comments about mad dad being thrown out there to so many sensitive topics in this wind. A series of events. And so we we what we're winning a see kind of how it all transpires in that. The bond hearing at and what else we hear from investigators as far as what happened. But there likely will be more vetoes it's very clear they have found records they have evidence that shows that corroborates these two Brothers stories. And said they feel very confident about the case or they have going forward to right. Even pilgrim from Chicago you know we appreciate thanks your work on this. And now we want to go to over to ABC radio's Aaron pictures he has also been following the case very closely Aaron you know you heard the police superintendent Ani the talking about the how this case they say was solved. Through both technology in terms of all the cameras around the city. The public helping out with their own private surveillance cameras in private video footage and then some good old fashioned police work. A real pro police procedural not only from superintendent. Johnson but also from commander would Nikki who outlined. The entirety of the three week investigation. Also I think Diana pretty good reminder that we are always being watched in any large city. In America like Chicago with all of those cameras are a real. Blow to privacy perhaps but but also a real boon to law enforcement as they try to solve crimes like this and and and he took us step by step as to how they were able to track down the two Brothers. Who allegedly were paid 3500 dollars by check and police have to check. And that's all ultimately how all of this started to unravel. I think you also heard Diane a couple of points of passion from superintendent Johnson. Not angry at how Jesse small at allegedly took advantage of the city's problems with crime and police community relations. With what he called the pain and anger of racism. To try and simply advance his career or get him bumped up on the salary chain. Yeah in Aaron we heard we've heard these superintendent there essentially stressing. That he's worried about the impact this could have on other victims that other hate crime victims will come forward and now might be met with more skepticism than they would have previously. Because this case will raise doubts going forward. It didn't you heard him say. That bogus police reports and do have a consequence and he was talking about victims of crime and if they aren't believed door as you say Diane if they're met with skepticism. That's not necessarily helpful in encouraging crime victims to come forward and and I've heard from prosecutors current and former. That that's their biggest take away from this case is that crime victims. Have enough trouble coming forward as it is and two to then have this kind of scrutiny piled on that the smallest case may in fact engender. Just isn't helpful to that effort but superintendent Johnson also says something LC he said that the entire cities seem to to rally around the case. And offer whatever help they could so you had all those private security cameras all of the that the potential witnesses to to interview. And all of that that effort culminated in the criminal charge for justice Moet and he turned himself in at about 6 AM eastern time. Yeah he's due in bond court at 130 this afternoon and we will find out more about this case then actors gate from ABC radio thanks Erin. I want to head over to attorney Steven Greenberg his criminal defense attorney in Chicago says as Stephen in a you're obviously. Well versed in Illinois law and you seen defense cases like this play out. Having heard. Yeah a lot of detail about the evidence against Jesse small let how do you think. He goes about defending himself now. Well it's certainly felt like an uphill battle yet over the last that. In today's digital age there's a footprint left everywhere. Everything we do not just the plea camera that's. The cameras that private buildings have its people felt ball let the chips and it's really problematic. So typically these cases where you just have a couple of is is we liked to called scriptures were true or are the Brothers. You're here would be okay because its literature telling the store to get themselves out of trouble. But if you're confirmatory other if there are. Cameras showing what they say that there are checked baggage or. Bennett much more difficult to say that they're just making it up does that go law under mr. small what very built out. Getting it sounds like pay some of the police are saying that they not only have. Lots of video footage but it sounds like they may have phone records or text message records because they say they can prove that he was in touch with them. Both before the the alleged attack after the staged attack and and then after of these two men returned. From having left the country. He also ahead said that think. They these you know allegedly staged attack played out on camera they actually think that small it was trying to get a better angle and Justin realized that the camera wasn't facing. In the direction that they thought and finally they say they have a 3500 dollar check that he paid them how weird is that. Well let's at. That's the Baird problem why else would be paying about he might say that it was pregnant because Brock. They were they were certainly working at mater for personal training but the other they're not that bad paper trail. From what to police percent of what site they're trying clue to text messages. And and so forth. To write things that are in writing. I will certainly says sounds like they have an uphill battle but his lawyers of course have promised an aggressive defense. And so we will see what they have to say small lead is due back in court. At 130. Before we wrap up here want to go over to Mike muse Stephen thank you so much we appreciate checking in. A Mike new series of some radio host Mike your of that well versed in you know pop culture in general and kind of curious about what you think. The fallout of this is in terms of the entertainment industry. And other game industry yeah I think. Because of the career with a smaller and I think it's clear at all but now in jeopardy the irony is that he stated attack and paid the brother Terry are our dollars or other advances career and now what we've seen out it's going to be the complete opposite of. Now from entertainment prospective industry. You know people look to entertainment each year instant. She people are thinking people create film. Dubbed dialogue and to create social narrative and get the parity cigar nationally we're in the peak of awards T and right now our people used to give speeches. Doing with our nation's postal issues and go. I think this really. Football hall and make entertainers think twice about how quickly do they react how quickly do they come out. They lived there to support that's something where they may not know that facts already. I just those who printed it was saying it really. Put a blemish on the city of Chicago which are ready dealing with the difficult and Mitch. But in terms of what's happening in this city what's happening with the policing the apartment right now while ago it was really great to hear the superintendent passion and emotion. To really say he wants to course correct that image of what people think about Chicago when it comes to that and so. I think as entertainment industry as a whole we don't we gotta be wrestling with this notion how quickly do respond to national incidents. Yet he called it shameful a number of times saying Chicago didn't deserve essentially the bad wrap this case. Was bringing in you know he wants the trick to get out there and now he says it is. But in terms of you know the long term impact of this he talked about the skepticism. Surrounding victims and as you pointed out that he not just be. You know by police or bystanders or so on but also from high profile. Entertainers who have the power of persuasion sometimes. Absolutely these issues that were addressed and its alleged pact that we have ought to be followed a real homophobia Israel racism is real and America in the politics to real and America. And those are issues that need to be taken Tearrius and so when they used. And relative banned from a personal agenda it is just the movement back and it makes people think twice her question others limit actually are the victim of these. All right Mike museum serious XM radio Mike we appreciated thank you. And now Levy up with a qui quick recap we want to take you over to the police superintendent. And just let you hear again what he says happened in the case of justice mullet. Before I get started it. And while we are here you know as I looked out into the crowd I just wish. That the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention. Because that's who really deserves the amount of attention that we getting to this particular incident. This morning. Are coming you not only asked the superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. But also as a black man who spent his entire life living in the city of Chicago. I know the racial divide that exists here. I know how hard this event for our city and I nation to come together. And also know the disparities. And I know the history. This announcement today. Recognizes. That empire actor Jesse small let took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career. I'm pang in my head and asking why. Why would anyone especially an African American man use the symbolism. Of a news. To make false accusations. How could someone. Look at the hatred and suffering associated. With that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate this symbol to further his own public profile. How can an individual. Who's been embraced by the city Chicago. Turnaround slap everyone. In this city in the face by making these files chop planes. Bogus police reports. Calls real harm. They do harm to every legitimate victim. Who's in need of support by police and and investigators as well as the citizens of this city. Chicago hosts one of the largest pride parades in the world. And we're proud. Of that. As a police department and also as a city. We do not. Know we ever tolerate hate and I've city. Whether that hate is based on an individual's sexual orientation. Race or anything else. I'm offended. By what's happened and I'm also angry. I love the city of Chicago. And the Chicago Police Department warts and off. But this publicity stunt was a scarred as Chicago didn't armed and certainly didn't deserve. Make things worse. Accusations within this phony attack. Received national attention for weeks. Celebrity's. News commentators. And even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor. First. No let attempted to gain attention by sending a false letters. That relied on racial and homophobic and political language. When that didn't work. Let paid 3500. Dollars. To stage this attack in drag Chicago's reputation through the moon in the process. And why. The star was orchestrated by smile lit because he was dissatisfied with the salary. There he concocted a story about being attacked. Not city has problems we know that. We have problems that have effective people from all walks of life. And we know that. But to put the national spotlight on Chicago for something that is both egregious and untrue it's simply shameful. I'm also concerned about what this means moving forward to hate crimes. Now of course the Chicago Police Department will continue to investigate. All reports of these types of incidents with the same amount of bigger that we do with this one. My concern is that hate crimes would now publicly be met with a level of skepticism. That previously didn't occurred didn't happen. That's say it. Some of that was treated as a victim throughout this investigation. Until we receive Evan asked then later detectives in another direction. I couldn't be more pry out. Of unrelenting detective work that went into this investigation. But could be more proud of every investigative played a part that. Detective work that we saw in this case is indicative of the work that I detectives do every day in this city. This case in particular. Involved hours of video evidence. Which when combined with a old fashioned police work uncovered the truth. These detectives deserve all the credit in the world for carefully analyzing the leads and evidence for weeks before coming to their conclusion. I'd also like that like to thank the FBI. For their help in this investigation. The FBI's partnership with CPD has been pivotal in this particular case. Our only hope that the truth about what happened receives the same amount of attention that the hopes did. I'll continue to pray but is troubled young man who resorted to both drastic and illegal tactics. To gain attention. I'm also continue to pray for our city asking that we can move forward from this and begin to heal.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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