Tag Archives: ’empire’

How Jussie Smollett Is Feeling About His Last ‘Empire’ Episode This Season Amid Legal Woes

How Jussie Smollett Is Feeling About His Last ‘Empire’ Episode This Season Amid Legal Woes | Entertainment Tonight

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Empire actor Jussie Smollett turns himself in to police to face charge of filing false report

Empire actor Jussie Smollett turned himself in early Thursday to face accusations that he filed a false police report when he told authorities he was attacked in Chicago by two men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck, police said.

Smollett turned himself in at central booking and was arrested, Chicago police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said. Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was scheduled to hold a news conference Thursday morning, and Smollett was expected to appear in court later in the day. 

The whispers about Smollett's account of the attack started with reports that he had not fully co-operated with police after telling authorities he was attacked. Then detectives in a city full of surveillance cameras could not find video of the beating. Later, two brothers were taken into custody for questioning but were released after two days, with police saying they were no longer suspects.

Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox TV show Empire, turned himself in to Chicago police early Thursday, a day after he was charged with disorderly conduct related to making a false police report. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Following three weeks of mounting suspicions, Smollett was charged Wednesday with felony disorder conduct, a charge that — if he were found guilty — could bring up to three years in prison and force the actor, who is black and gay, to pay for the cost of the investigation into his report of a Jan. 29 beating.

In less than a month, the 36-year-old changed from being the seemingly sympathetic victim of a hate crime to being accused of fabricating the entire thing.

The felony charge emerged on the same day detectives and the two brothers testified before a grand jury. Smollett's attorneys met with prosecutors and police, but it was unknown what they discussed or whether Smollett attended the meeting.

In a statement, attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said 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."

The announcement of the charges followed a flurry of activity in recent days, including lengthy police interviews of the brothers, a search of their home and their release after officers cleared them.

Police searched the Chicago apartment of two brothers who were questioned as part of their investigation into Smollett's report of the attack. (Nader Issa/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Investigators have not said what the brothers told detectives or what evidence detectives collected. But it became increasingly clear that serious questions had arisen about Smollett's account — something police signalled Friday when they announced a "significant shift in the trajectory" of the probe after the brothers were freed.

Smollett, who plays a gay character on the hit Fox television show Empire, said he was attacked as he was walking home from a downtown Subway sandwich shop. He said the masked men beat him, made derogatory comments and yelled "This is MAGA country" — an apparent reference to President Donald Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again" — before fleeing.

Earlier Wednesday, Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television issued a statement saying Smollett "continues to be a consummate professional on set" and that his character is not being written off the show. The series is shot in Chicago and follows a black family as they navigate the ups and downs of the recording industry.

The studio's statement followed reports that Smollett's role was being slashed amid the police investigation.

After reviewing hundreds of hours of video, detectives did find and release images of two people they said they wanted to question and last week picked up the brothers at O'Hare International Airport as they returned from Nigeria. Police questioned the men and searched their apartment.

The brothers, who were identified by their attorney as Abimbola "Abel" and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo, were held for nearly 48 hours on suspicion of assaulting Smollett.

The day after they were released, police said the men provided information that had "shifted the trajectory of the investigation," and detectives requested another interview with Smollett.

Police said one of the men had worked on Empire, and Smollett's attorneys said one of the men is the actor's personal trainer, whom he hired to help get him physically ready for a music video. The actor released his debut album, Sum of My Music, last year.

Smollett was charged by prosecutors, not the grand jury. The police spokesperson said the brothers appeared before the panel to "lock in their testimony."

Brothers 'manned up,' attorney says

Speaking outside the courthouse where the grand jury met, the brothers' attorney said the two men testified for about 2½ hours.

"There was a point where this story needed to be told, and they manned up and they said we're going to correct this," Gloria Schmidt said.

Attorney Gloria Schmidt, who is representing the two Nigerian brothers who were questioned and released by police in the Smollett attack case, told reporters on Wednesday that her clients told the truth. (Joshua Lott/Reuters)

She said her clients did not care about a plea deal or immunity. "You don't need immunity when you have the truth," she said.

She also said her clients received money from Smollett, but she did not elaborate.

Smollett has been active in LBGTQ issues, and initial reports of the assault drew outrage and support for him on social media, including from Sen. Kamala Harris of California and TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Referring to a published account of the attack, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that "it doesn't get worse, as far as I'm concerned."

But several hours after Smollett was declared a suspect and the charges announced, there was little reaction from celebrities online.

Former Cook County prosecutor Andrew Weisberg said judges rarely throw defendants in prison for making false reports, opting instead to place them on probation, particularly if they have no prior criminal record.

Smollett has a record — one that concerns giving false information to police when he was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. According to records, he was also charged with false impersonation and driving without a licence. He later pleaded no contest to a reduced charge and took an alcohol education and treatment program.

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CBC | World News

Empire actor Jussie Smollett charged for allegedly lying about attack, police say

Chicago police say Empire actor Jussie Smollett has been charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report when he reported that he was attacked by two masked men.

Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the Cook County State's Attorney's office approved the felony charge on Wednesday afternoon. The charge is a Class 4 felony that carries a possible prison sentence of 1-3 years. It could also force Smollett to pay for the cost of the investigation, but he could also receive probation.

Authorities were trying to get in touch with Smollett's attorneys to "negotiate a reasonable surrender," Guglielmi said. That could involve Smollett turning himself in at a Chicago police station.

He said he did not have a time frame for how long the actor would be given.

"We are trying to be diplomatic and reasonable, and we're hoping he does the same," Guglielmi said.

Smollett, who plays the role of Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox TV show, said he was attacked by two masked men at around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29 as he was walking home from a Subway sandwich shop downtown.

The actor said the men beat him, made racist and homophobic comments and yelled, "This is MAGA country" — an apparent reference to U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again"— before looping a rope around his neck and fleeing.

In a statement, attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said 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."

Character not being written off show

Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television issued a statement Wednesday saying Smollett "continues to be a consummate professional on set" and that his character isn't being written off the show. The statement followed reports that Smollett's role was being slashed amid the police investigation into the reported attack.

Investigators went through hundreds of hours of private and public surveillance video from the area where Smollett said he was attacked but couldn't find footage of the alleged beating.

Police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi confirmed that a search warrant was executed at the Chicago apartment of two brothers who were questioned in the alleged attack. (Nader Issa/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

They did find and release images of two people they said they wanted to question. And last week, police picked up the two brothers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport as they returned from Nigeria and questioned them about the attack. They also searched the men's apartment.

The men, who were identified to multiple media outlets by their attorney as Abimbola "Abel" and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo, were held for nearly 48 hours on suspicion of assaulting Smollett before being released Friday.

The day after they were released, police said the men provided information that had "shifted the trajectory of the investigation," and detectives requested another interview with Smollett.

Police said one of the men had appeared on "Empire," and Smollett's attorneys said one of the men is the actor's personal trainer, whom he hired to help get him physically ready for a music video. The actor released his debut album, "Sum of My Music," last year.

Smollett was charged by prosecutors, not the grand jury. The police spokesman said the brothers appeared before the panel to "lock in their testimony."

Probation, restitution most likely, former prosecutor says

Former Cook County prosecutor Andrew Weisberg said judges rarely throw defendants in prison for making false reports, opting instead to place them on probation, particularly if they have no prior criminal record.

Smollett has a record — one that concerns giving false information to police when he was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. According to records, he was also charged with false impersonation and driving without a license. He later pleaded no contest to a reduced charge and took an alcohol education and treatment program.

Another prospective problem is the bill someone might receive after falsely reporting a crime that prompted a nearly monthlong investigation, including the collection and review of hundreds of hours of surveillance video.

The size of the tab is anyone's guess, but given how much time the police have invested, the cost could be huge.

Weisberg recently represented a client who was charged with making a false report after surveillance video discredited her account of being robbed by three men at O'Hare Airport.

For an investigation that took only a single day, his client had to split restitution of $ 8,400 US, Weisberg said. In Smollett's case, "I can imagine that this would be easily into the hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Also Wednesday, Chicago's top prosecutor, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, announced that she had recused herself from the investigation.

Her office explained that Foxx made the decision "out of an abundance of caution" because of conversations she had with one of Smollett's family members just after the report. When the relative expressed concerns about the case, Foxx "facilitated a connection" between the family member and detectives, according to a statement.

Foxx said the case would be handled to her first assistant, Joseph Magats, a 28-year veteran prosecutor.

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CBC | World News

Microsoft Expands Gaming Empire, Bringing Xbox Game Pass to PC Players

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During Microsoft’s last conference call, CEO Satya Nadella dropped a casual remark that the company will soon expand its Xbox Game Pass service to the PC. In his comments on Microsoft’s overall gaming strategy, Nadella said:

[T]he thing that I’ll say is most critical when you think about gaming is having a platform where the gamers are already there. That means you need to have a platform that has a community around it and monetize as well… Xbox has the key gaming community and the monetization capabilities. Whether it’s first-party games or third-party games, we are best-in-class in that monetization and that’s what’s reflected in the results… Obviously, bringing Game Pass to even the PC is going to be a big element of that. And then streaming is just a natural sequence of it.

Xbox Game Pass is a $ 10-per-month subscription service that allows you to stream a library of 100 games to your Xbox (and at some point in the future, your PC), for $ 10 per month. Microsoft has previously announced that it would feature all first-party studio titles as part of Game Pass and that it would do so when they launched, not months or years after debut. After years of moving away from developing its own first-party content for XboxSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce, Microsoft is back in the game (pun intended) again, having acquired Ninja Theory, Playground Games, Undead Labs, and Compulsion Games just this year. Ninja Theory developed Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Playground Games is behind the Forza series, and Compulsion Game’s major release is We Happy Few.

A full list of games available on Xbox Game Pass can be found here, but a quick check reveals some strong options. All three BioShock titles, Bayonetta, DMC 4, Doom 2016, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Elder Scrolls Online, Fallout 3 & Fallout 4, Forza Horizon 4, six Gears of War titles, a number of Halo games, Metro Last Light Redux, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Sea of Thieves, two Shantae games, Wolfenstein: The New Order, and Xcom: Enemy Within are a handful of the titles available on the service. Obviously, your tastes and opinion will vary, but there’s no arguing that Microsoft has a very solid lineup of games. $ 10 per month with Day 1 access to launch titles could make the Xbox Game Pass a huge success.

Over at Geek.com, Jordan Minor asks if Microsoft’s move to put Game Pass on the PC could threaten the Xbox’s console business. In my own opinion as a longtime PC gamer, no, probably not. This is not to say there’s no overlap between the communities — plenty of gamers have both consoles and PC titles, and a household could easily contain a mixture of players and platforms. But this move is directly in line with what Nadella has made his core concerns — game streaming, cloud platforms, and an increased overlap between Xbox and PC gaming that allows gamers in one ecosystem to access products in the other.

If Microsoft wants to make a renewed first-party push, this kind of move makes perfect sense. Opening Xbox One exclusive games and a curated game experience to PC players expands the potential audience for Microsoft’s game content without asking anyone to commit to buying an entire console just for the experience. It could even open the doors to cross-platform appeal with PS4/PS5 owners who also have PCs, but want to experience Halo or one of the other Xbox first-party titles.

The biggest question in all this is whether or not PC gamers are willing to trust Microsoft when it comes to delivering solid game experiences. While the Game Pass service would presumably be tied to the Xbox app instead of the Windows Store, issues with the latter have undoubtedly informed how PC gamers think of Microsoft and gaming in general — and the Windows Store has been, generally speaking, a terrible way to acquire games. There have been infinite download bugs, poor performance, hopelessly buggy performance, and, in one memorable case, buying the Windows Store version of the game locked you to different multiplayer servers than Steam gamers. Fixing PC gamer perceptions could take a while. But extending the Xbox Game Pass to PC players should be a good upside, particularly for gamers with laptops who want to be able to play on the go without buying a heavy desktop replacement gaming system.

Now Read: Xbox One Sales Apparently Doubled Since 2017, Microsoft Announces ‘Xbox All Access’ Plans to Finance a Console Over Two Years, and Microsoft Had an Xbox VR Solution in the Works, But Killed the Project

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