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Jussie Smollett allegedly paid his fake attackers with a check

How could this backfire?

On Jan. 29, Empire actor Jussie Smollett was hospitalized after claiming two men yelling racist and homophobic slurs assaulted him, and Chicago police quickly started investigating his report as a hate crime. Now Chicago police say Smollett staged the whole thing — and they have the literal checks to prove it.

Police arrested Smollett on Wednesday night on a felony charge of filing a false police report, and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson elaborated in a Thursday press conference that Smollett gave two men a $3,500 check to attack him — a form of payment that's literally designed to produce a physical receipt. Police have the check, Johnson said, before lambasting Smollett's "shameful" alleged stunt and asking "why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?"

Fox said Wednesday that Smollet was "not being written out of" Empire, but it's now considering suspending him, Variety reports. Read more details from the police press conference here.