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Jussie Smollett Is Officially Not Coming Back To "Empire" After Chicago Scandal

Empire's cocreator has seemingly closed the door on Smollett forever.

Posted on June 4, 2019, at 8:29 p.m. ET

Nuccio Dinuzzo / Getty Images

After a Variety story reported that Empire writers were planning for actor Jussie Smollett's return, Lee Daniels, the show's cocreator, shot down the notion on Twitter.

"This is not factual," Daniels tweeted. "Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire."

@Variety @Variety @JoeOtterson This is not factual. Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire. -LD

The tweet is the first time Daniels has been so definitive about Smollett's fate.

Smollett was suspended from Fox's Empire in February after his story about being the victim of a hate crime unraveled.

In late January, the actor told police in Chicago that he was attacked by two men who threw a chemical substance on him, called him anti-gay and racist slurs, and put a rope around his neck. He also said they shouted "This is MAGA country" at him.

But after police investigated, it appeared that the actor staged the attack with the help of two brothers, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo.

In March, Smollett was indicted by a grand jury on 16 counts, including filing a false police report. But the charges were dropped later that month by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, which cited Smollett’s lack of danger to the public, his community service, and forfeiture of $10,000 in bail.

Smollett has maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal and insisted that he was attacked. An email to his spokesperson was not immediately returned Tuesday.

Fox renewed the show in April, and in May announced that next season will be its last.

At the time of its renewal, there seemed to be a possibility that Smollett, who played Jamal Lyon for Empire's first five seasons, could return. A source close to the show told BuzzFeed News that the network and studio, 20th Century Fox, were waiting to see whether there would be further fallout about Smollett after his sudden fall from grace.

The recent release of the Smollett investigation case file seems to have provided that fallout. In addition to allegedly staging the hoax attack with the brothers, police investigators said they found evidence in text messages that he bought cocaine and Ecstasy from them as well.

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