The actor suspected of faking a hate crime against himself has a criminal record — for providing false information to authorities.
NBC News reported Tuesday that “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett pleaded no contest to several charges in 2007 in Los Angeles, one of which was providing false information to authorities.
Citing a Los Angeles City Attorney spokesman, NBC reported that Mr. Smollett was sentenced to two years probation in the case, which also included a DUI count and a charge of driving without a license.
The city attorney’s office first confirmed the convictions to NBC News and later other media outlets confirmed the story.
Citing “multiple law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation,” NBC News reported that the Chicago Police Department has requested the details from their counterparts in Los Angeles.
According to the Associated Press, when Mr. Smollett was pulled over on suspicion of DUI, he identified himself as his brother Jake and also signed a false name on the standard “promise to appear in court” paperwork. He was initially charged with the more serious crime of impersonation but pleaded no contest to a lesser count of giving false information to police.
Chicago authorities are now investigating the purported attack on Mr. Smollett — who said he was beaten up by men who shouted racist and anti-gay slurs and told him Chicago was “MAGA Country” — as a hoax and not as an assault.
Two brothers who were initially declared “persons of interest” in the “attack” are cooperating with authorities and have reportedly told Chicago police that Mr. Smollett hired them to help stage the whole thing.