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Jussie Smollett ‘began to fear for his life,’ according to his lawyers

The Chicago Police Department reported Tuesday that the new lead in Jussie Smollett’s investigation, his former manager, has changed his story, putting him under arrest for disorderly conduct. Jussie Smollett was placed under arrest early Wednesday morning and released late Wednesday. Smollett turned himself in Wednesday, according to his lawyer.

In a statement, Smollett’s lawyers said the “violent and unprovoked attack” would cost him “his career.”

“By now you have heard the news,” the statement continued. “As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with. He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”

But before the controversy raged on, after episodes of the show were already filmed, producers could be seen steering Smollett, the actor who plays Jamal Lyon, off the stage, according to Variety. “It’s really difficult for him to do his job,” a source said.

The TV studio in Chicago where the drama is filmed, 20th Century Fox, has pulled Smollett from the set of “Empire” and asked that the police “conduct a thorough investigation,” according to Deadline. Fox Television declined to comment when asked about a Daily Beast report that Smollett requested to be excused from a later appearance.

In addition, Jussie Smollett is no longer on-screen in any capacity, according to Fox.

Fox Entertainment had not yet responded to a request for comment when the Daily Beast first began reporting on the lead in Smollett’s investigation. In a written statement to The Daily Beast, a Fox spokesperson denied that Smollett was written off of the show, “Empire,” or was ever filmed outside of the Chicago set. “The focus remains on honoring Jussie’s performances and getting him back to work as soon as possible,” the statement continued.