CHICAGO – “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett pleaded no contest to not only driving under the influence of alcohol, but also for driving without a license and giving law enforcement false information in 2007.
The case comes as Chicago Police Department (CPD) seek to meet with Smollett over an alleged attack.
Smollett claimed he was attacked, doused with an unknown chemical substance and had a rope tied around his neck by two men who yelled “This is MAGA (Make America Great Again) country” at him on Jan. 29.
There have been reports, however, that the attack was organized by Smollett and two brothers who were allegedly paid to help, according to CNN.
Smollett’s attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson released a statement Sunday saying such allegations were “nothing further from the truth.”
Sources have said a potential motive for staging the attack was over a threat letter that did not receive enough attention, CBS 2 Chicago reported.
“When the letter didn’t get enough attention, he concocted the staged attack,” a source said to CBS 2 Chicago.
The alleged attack initially caused outrage among several celebrities and Democratic politicians, with some blaming President Donald Trump. Democrats like California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker kept their original statements on the issue while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi deleted her original tweet.
Eric Schiffer of Reputation Management Consultants said to The Daily Caller News Foundation that Smollett’s career and reputation could end if the alleged attack turned out to be fake.
“Many people on the left will be privately devastated but most won’t apologize for false accusations and instead they will just move on to another controversy,” Schiffer said. “Politically those on the right may call for Smollett to be prosecuted as a hate crime for spewing an incitement of hatred against millions of MAGA members and white people.”
Smollett will need to “come clean” and “lay out the facts” in order to fix a damaged reputation, Schiffer added. But “his reputation for trust is going to take years to revitalize.”