Jussie Smollett Will Appear in Next Week's Episode of 'Empire'
By Scott Baumgartner
Rachel Luna/Getty Images
ET has learned that when Empire returns next Wednesday, March 13, Jussie Smollett will be appearing in the spring premiere episode.
On the show, the 36-year-old actor plays Jamal Lyon, the son of Lucious (Terrence Howard) and Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson), who run a hip-hop and entertainment company.
When the show left off on in December, Jamal defended his father against his fiance Kai, who wants to expose Lucious. While Smollett will not be appearing in the season's final 2 episodes, it is unclear how Jamal's story will wrap up this season. Per Fox, the synopsis for the upcoming episode states: Jamal and Kai try to figure out where they stand and a mystery begins to unravel.
News of Smollett’s appearance in next week's episode comes roughly two weeks after the 36-year-old actor was released on a $10,000 bond after being charged with filing a fake police report, a class 4 felony which carries with it a maximum penalty of three years in prison.
The allegations against Smollett stem from an alleged staged attack on the actor in late January, which Chicago Police now believe to be a hoax orchestrated by Smollett to further his career. They also allege that, prior to the attack, he sent himself a threatening letter, which did not receive the attention he had hoped it would.
After his arrest, Smollett's legal team fiercely proclaimed his innocence, writing in a statement: "Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system. The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election."
"Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity, who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing," the statement continued.
"The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us. Jussie has been an important member of our Empire family for the past five years and we care about him deeply," the EPs’ statement read. "While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out."
"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 decided to remove the role of Jamal from the final two episodes of the season,” the statement continued.
However, ET has learned that Smollett will be paid for the two episodes he won’t appear in.
Ola and Abel Osundairo, the two brothers who Smollett allegedly paid $3,500 to attack him, released a statement via their lawyer on March 1 lamenting their role in the incident.
“My clients have tremendous regret over their involvement in this situation, and they understand how it has impacted people across the nation, particularly minority communities and especially those who have been victims of hate crimes themselves,” the statement read, via CBS Chicago.