Chicago's top attorney Kim Foxx has recused herself from the investigation into her friend, actor Jussie Smollett, star of Fox TV's music Empire. Foxx's spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said Foxx recused herself "out of an abundance of caution" to avoid "questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case."
According to ABC News, the Federal Bureau of Investigations has taken over the investigation into Smollett's claims that he was beat up during a racist, homophobic attack in Chicago last month.
Now that the case has been turned over to the FBI, Smollett, 36, may serve time in a federal prison.
According to ABC News, the feds are looking into reports he sent a threatening letter containing a powdery substance to himself a week before he was allegedly attacked outside his high-rise condominium.
According to ABC News, federal officials and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are working together to determine whether Smollett sent the letter containing a death threat and a powdery substance to himself at the Fox Studios in Chicago.
The envelope contained a note with magazine letters cut out to spell, "You will die black f*g", and was sent on January 22, 2019.
The powdery substance was later determined to be a crushed pain pill.
Just eight days later, Smollett told Chicago police officers that two men beat him up, tied a rope noose around his neck and poured a bleach-like liquid over him.
Police quickly identified Abel and Ola Osundairo as the men seen in surveillance video. Investigators say the brothers are seen in ride share video being dropped off at the scene prior to the fake attack.
During a raid on the Osundairo brothers' home, officers confiscated a magazine with letters cut out. Officers also took a book of stamps that may match the stamps on the outside of the envelope. The sender wrote "MAGA" on the upper left side of the envelope.
The Osundairo brothers told police Smollett paid them $7,000 to help him stage the assault outside his apartment building because he was upset that the "anthrax" letter didn't get the media response he had expected.
No one has been charged in connection with the case.
In related news, Chicago police officials dismissed a tip from a neighbor suggesting the troubled actor was spotted in an elevator at his apartment building with the Osundairo brothers.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi say police reviewed surveillance video from the elevators and determined the tip was bogus.
Meanwhile, Empire scriptwriters have rewritten episodes to remove scenes featuring Smollett from the upcoming 2nd half of season 5 of Empire, which returns in March. There are 9 remaining episodes including the fall 2019 finale.
Update: 20th Century Fox tweeted this moments ago. "Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show."
"Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show." - STATEMENT FROM 20TH CENTURY FOX TELEVISION AND FOX ENTERTAINMENT
— 20th Century Fox TV (@20centuryfoxTV) February 20, 2019