According to a new statement from Empire star Jussie Smollett released Thursday, he is blaming a mayoral race in Chicago for the unfair treatment he says he is receiving from the Chicago police and law enforcement officials.
"Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system," the statement read.
"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," the statement continued.
"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," it concluded.
Smollett appeared in court Thursday on felony charges that he filed a false police report in a case that has been debated nationwide for weeks. He has denied accusations that he was involved in orchestrating the attack he reported since the beginning.
Police say that Smollett paid two acquaintances who were later caught on surveillance video the night of the attack. The pair are now cooperating with police and accusing Smollett of orchestrating the attack as a hate crime.
Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct and faces up to three years in jail and substantial fines if he's found guilty.
Here's the latest on the Smollett hoax:
Jussie Smollett staged attack because he was 'dissatisfied with his salary': Police www.youtube.com