Jussie Smollett Removed From Final Episodes of Empire

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"We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have made a decision to remove the role of "Jamal" from the final two episodes of the season".

Officers reviewed video from more than four dozen cameras to trace the men's movements before and after the alleged attack to determine where they lived and who they were. Smollett reported that two masked men beat him, used racist and homophobic slurs, doused him in a chemical substance and draped a noose around his neck before fleeing.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett, 36, orchestrated a "phony attack" in order to take "advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career". "How could an individual who's been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?".

"Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system", the statement reads.

Fox released a statement saying that they were "deeply saddened and outraged" by the alleged attack. Smollett's admission to his drug problem could help reduce his sentence if he's convicted.

Smollett appeared in court Thursday afternoon and spoke only to confirm his name to the judge.

According to court documents, the black and openly gay actor wrote a personal check for $3,500 to two brother and gave them $100 to buy the rope, ski masks, gloves and red baseball caps that were used in the supposed attack on January 29. They also alleged that Smollett was upset about his salary.

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Top stories this week include the 2020 presidential election, President Trump's declaration at the border last Friday and new information surrounding Jussie Smollett's alleged attack.

The case against Jussie Smollett could do more than lead to a conviction for the "Empire" star - some experts see the allegations he orchestrated an attack created to look like a hate crime as a potentially fatal blow to his career.

According to Johnson, the American-born brothers left for Nigeria shortly after the staged attack and were detained February 13 upon arriving back in Chicago. The actor has continued to maintain his innocence.

"I gotta say, that was super helpful in this investigation", Wodnicki said at a press conference this week.

Noah broke down some of the newer details about the case on Thursday night's show - for example, that Smollett wrote his two "attackers" checks for their work.

"Didn't he in fact attempt to paint the MAGA supporters as these racist and homophobic people?" His next hearing is scheduled for March 14.