Jussie Smollett reportedly told authorities he is suffering from an untreated drug problem.
According to TMZ, the 36-year-old actor made the claim Thursday, after surrendering to police on a felony count of disorderly conduct for filing a false report. The outlet points out that this detail may be relevant to the case, as Smollett is believed to have purchased drugs from one of the brothers who allegedly helped him stage a phony hate crime.
Prosecutors said they have reviewed text messages indicating Abel Osundairo had sold Smollett "designer drugs" several times since spring 2018. TMZ notes that if the Empire star is convicted, he could use his alleged substance abuse problem as a "mitigating factor" in his sentencing.
Legal documents also show Smollett answered "no" when asked if he had any alcohol or mental health problems.
On Jan. 29, Smollett told authorities he had been physically attacked by two masked men at around 2 a.m. that day. The actor claimed the perpetrators had beat him, tied a noose around his neck, and poured a chemical substance—believed to be bleach—on him. Smollett also told officers the men shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him and referenced Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan.
Weeks after Smollett gave his report, officers arrested brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo in connection with the attack. The men were eventually released without any charges, and reportedly told authorities Smollett had paid them $3,500 to help orchestrate the assault. Smollett's legal team has denied these allegations on the actor's behalf.
"Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system," his representatives said in a statement Thursday. "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."
Smollett was released from police custody Thursday on $100,000 bond. He's expected to enter a plea at his next court hearing March 14