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Jussie Smollett's Empire character 'could be killed off'

CHARGED: Jussie Smollett

JUSSIE SMOLLETT’S Empire character could be killed off or recast from the show following his indictment for allegedly staging a hate crime against himself and filing a false police report.

The 36-year-old actor has claimed that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime in Chicago in January.

Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon in show, has already been written out of the last two episodes of the fifth series, which returns tonight.

Sources told Variety that there was a possibility for Smollett’s character to be “killed off or the role could be recast”.

Empire, one of Fox’s highest-rated shows, was expected to be renewed for a sixth season. But there is speculation that its future is hanging in the balance because of Smollett’s case, according to Variety.

Smollett has been indicted on 16 felony counts of felony disorderly conduct. It has been alleged that he staged the incident to improve his career prospects and his Empire salary. He has denied the allegations.

Police believe that Smollett paid two brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo to stage the attack on him.

The Osundairo brothers, who have been helping the police with their investigation, were arrested in connection to the incident but later released without charge.

Smollett faces up to three years in prison, a $25,000 fine and 60 years probation if he’s found guilty.

According to TMZ, Smollett apologised to his fellow Empire cast members and the show’s crew last month.

"I’m sorry I’ve put you all through this and not answered any calls. I wanted to say I’m sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this,” TMZ reported he said.

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