Terrence Howard Sues 20th Century Fox Pimped 'Empire' With My 'Hustle & Flow'

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Terrence Howard claims he's getting hustled because 20th Century Fox is using his likeness from "Hustle & Flow" to promote "Empire" ... so now he's suing the studio.

Terrence -- who played Lucious Lyon on all 6 seasons of "Empire" -- just filed a lawsuit claiming 20th Century Fox gave him the runaround when asked how it came up with the "Empire" logo ... since he never sat down for a photoshoot.

In the docs, obtained by TMZ, Terrence says he ultimately determined the image was taken from the "Hustle & Flow" scene where "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" is being recorded in a studio.

According to the docs ... Terrence says "the still frame was selected, reversed (face looking left, not right), and subjected to CGI that simply distilled the cinematographer’s skilled capture of the head with vibrant light and shadow” to make the 'Empire' logo.

Terrence is upset because he says he would have gotten paid by Paramount -- the studio behind "Hustle & Flow" -- if 20th Century Fox got a proper license to use his image from the movie. He's suing for damages and wants an accounting of all the Empire merch using the logo.

We've reached out to 20th Century Fox for comment, so far no word back.

Jussie Smollett Doubles Down on Innocence ... Claims Witnesses, Video Can Prove It

I'M STILL INNOCENT
@marclamonthill / Instagram

Jussie Smollett still insists the alleged assault he suffered in January 2019 is not a hoax, but now says there's evidence to back it up ... and suggests there are forces working against him to keep the truth hidden.

The former "Empire" star opened up about the infamous "hate crime" that went down in Chicago -- more than a year and a half ago -- in a rare interview, because he's over staying quiet about the case.

Jussie tells activist Marc Lamont Hill he doesn't believe the City of Chicago or law enforcement will ever stop going after him, and he believes they are trying to make an example out of him ... even though he claims he didn't do what he's accused of doing.

Smollett blasts police for focusing on winning the case instead of trying to solve it based on truth, and hints there may be a conspiracy against him because of that. As he puts it -- law enforcement is willing to throw people under the bus, get people to lie, and switch the narrative based on their agenda.

As for the lack of video evidence of Jussie being attacked ... he claims it's out there. He also says there are 2 witnesses who can corroborate his story of seeing 2 white men -- one of them carrying a rope -- before he was attacked.

Smollett says this evidence has been buried by a bunch of lies and misleading information, but there's more. Jussie claims there's a tape that shows the action leading up to his alleged assault, but it cuts off right before it happens.

He doesn't say outright who may have doctored the tape, but strongly implies the Chicago PD may have had a hand in it.

To sum it all up ... Smollett says he now realizes he was set up from the beginning to look like he was lying, and he thinks it has something to do with "the MAGA of it all."

It seems Jussie believes if his alleged attackers hadn't yelled something suggesting they were Trump supporters, things would be different ... but he concedes he doesn't know that for sure.

What he does know for sure is he's done trying to convince people ... and the truth will eventually come out.

We broke the story ... on Wednesday, the City of Chicago requested the FBI hand over its records about the Bureau's probe into the "hate crime" and what may have led up to it.

So Jussie's right ... this case isn't going away anytime soon.

Jussie Smollet FBI Investigation Comes Up Again ... Chicago Wants the Records

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The City of Chicago wants a judge to force the FBI to hand over records of the Bureau's probe into the Jussie Smollett case -- especially his claim he was the target of a racist and homophobic threat before the infamous alleged attack.

According to new docs, obtained by TMZ, the City wants to know what the FBI dug up related to a letter that was sent to Fox Studios in Chicago on January 22, 2019 -- a week before Jussie claims he was attacked. The letter contained an "unknown substance" and contained "racist and homophobic imagery and slurs" ... according to Jussie.

The City also wants the FBI records about the "attack" itself ... according to the docs. Basically, Chi-town officials want to know if the FBI uncovered any evidence about Jussie faking the threatening letter or his "attack."

What's interesting here is the docs show the FBI told the City disclosing any of the requested material would "reveal information acquired as part of an ongoing criminal investigation."

Bottom line is ... as of now the FBI is refusing to hand over its investigation results because it still hasn't closed the case.

You'll recall ... in the aftermath of Jussie's "attack," President Trump mentioned the FBI was looking into the situation.

The correspondence between the City and the FBI is part of the civil suit Chicago filed against Jussie for allegedly faking the attack. The goal is to force him to pay for the cost of its investigation -- and it's separate from the new criminal charges filed by the special prosecutor.

Osundairo Bros. Get Stuff Back from Jussie Case ... But Not Ski Mask and Hat

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Jussie Smollett's alleged "attackers" picked up some of their possessions seized by cops over a year ago -- including a large gun -- but the judge said they still gotta wait for a couple more infamous items.

Abel and Ola Osundairo were granted permission by the court to get back many of their belongings no longer considered to be pertinent to Jussie's case ... including a shotgun, a safe, household supplies and their clothes.

However, according to legal docs ... authorities are still holding several items connected to the 2019 alleged fake attack on Smollett -- most notably a black face mask and a red hat.

TOOLS FOR THE CRIME
TMZ.com

As you'll recall, the brothers were seen on security footage buying some of the items the day before the "attack" on Jussie.

The brothers' attorney, Gloria Rodriguez, says they both went to the Chicago PD evidence pickup spot earlier this month to get their stuff ... but left with less than they thought they'd get.

ASSETS RETURNED
TMZ.com

As you can see ... Abel's carrying 2 gun cases, but we're told one is empty. That's because, according to Rodriguez, another shotgun was misclassified in the paperwork, but they hope to get that back soon.

Also, Rodriguez says there's a third firearm -- a 9MM -- the cops kept because it was in the brothers' safe. According to the legal docs, prosecutors and Jussie's defense are allowed to review the contents of the safe before they go back to Abel and Ola. The brothers did already get back the actual safe.

We're told Smollett's camp has not been given a chance yet to review the remaining safe items for his upcoming criminal trial.

As we've reported ... Jussie's still facing 6 felony counts for allegedly lying to cops.

'Empire' Star Bryshere Gray Arrested for Domestic Violence ... After Standoff with Cops

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Bryshere Gray -- famous for playing Hakeem Lyon on "Empire" -- has been busted in Arizona for domestic violence.

We've learned Bryshere was arrested early Monday morning in Goodyear, just outside Phoenix, after a standoff with a SWAT team and crisis negotiators, and he allegedly beat the hell outta his wife ... according to cops.

Goodyear PD says officers responded to a call to assist a woman at 10:15 PM Sunday night at a Circle K. Police and say the woman flagged down a good Samaritan for help and claimed her husband, Bryshere, assaulted her for several hours at their home.

Police say Bryshere's wife had numerous visible injuries on her body, and cops say she claimed Bryshere strangled her and she temporarily lost consciousness during the alleged assault.

While Bryshere's wife was being taken to a nearby hospital, cops say they went to the couple's home to try to contact the actor, but police say he refused to leave the home and barricaded himself inside.

After a SWAT team and crisis negotiators arrived, cops say the standoff finally ended around 7 AM when Bryshere surrendered to officers in front of his home.

Bryshere was taken into custody and booked into the Maricopa County Jail on 3 charges -- felony aggravated assault (strangulation), misdemeanor assault (domestic violence), and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Bryshere's wife was treated for her injuries and released from the hospital, according to police.

We reached out to Bryshere's camp ... so far, no word back.

Jussie Smollett 'Attacker' Abel Wants Cops to Return His Stuff ... Used in Alleged Attack?!?

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One of Jussie Smollett's alleged attackers wants some personal belongings back from Chicago PD ... including some stuff that sounds like the exact items used that infamous night.

According to court docs, obtained by TMZ, Abel Osundairo had a number of personal items seized in February 2019 when cops executed a search warrant at his home ... and now he wants them returned.

Some of the seized items Abel wants are pretty interesting, because, if you've followed the case, this will sound familiar -- a black ski mask and a red hat. Yep, just a couple of the things Abel and his brother, Ola, allegedly bought and used on Jussie.

TOOLS FOR THE CRIME
TMZ.com

You'll recall ... surveillance video days before the "attack" showed the Osundairos buying the gear. Remember, Jussie said his attackers were wearing ski masks, and cops seized red hats when they raided the brothers' residence.

THE FULL CUT
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Abel, who was released from custody without any charges being filed against him, also wants police to hand over a script from "Empire" recovered from his place. He and Ola had been extras on Jussie's hit show.

Other notable items Abel wants returned include 2 firearms, 2 iPhones and 5 bottles of bleach -- relevant, of course, to the alleged attack.

In the new docs, Abel's lawyer, Gloria Schmidt, says her client's "been patient but has now been deprived of his personal property for over a year and there exists no good cause for any further delay in returning his items to him."

Abel's gonna have to wait a little longer for a final decision. A judge is giving the special prosecutor in Jussie's case at least another week to figure out if handing over the stuff would prejudice the case in any way.

Jussie Smollett Yes, I'll Take a Hike ... Taraji's Still with Me!!!

Jussie Smollett isn't out of the metaphorical woods regarding his alleged hoax "attack" in Chicago, but he's heading into actual woods for a hike with an old friend.

The ex-"Empire" star ventured out Wednesday morning in L.A. with Taraji P. Henson and his sister, Jurnee Smollett. It was kinda hard for the trio to keep a low profile with Taraji's bright red hair. She's been rockin' that 'do recently.

Anyway, all three looked pretty chummy as they walked the hiking path, and kept things Fauci-friendly during the trek with their face coverings.

If you're doing a double-take at seeing Taraji with Jussie -- who was written out of the show in 2019 -- you shouldn't be. TPH has been very vocal in her continued support for him ... even after show execs gave him the heave-ho.

Sure, he's still fighting the City of Chicago in a civil case, as well as Cook County in another criminal case after a special prosecutor re-charged him. But, Jussie's got himself a ride or die in Taraji, who played his TV mom.

Those Lyons stick together.

Jussie Smollett 'Attackers' Abel & Ola Flash Acting Chops ... Bizarre Comedy Sketch

Jussie Smollet's alleged "attackers" Abel and Ola Osundairo are showing off their acting skills in a new sketch that's supposed to be comedic ... but really just looks weird as hell.

Our sources tell us, Abel and Ola recently shot the sketch as a way to showcase their acting chops and get back into the industry. We're told it's entitled "50 Shades of Black" ... but, no, it has nothing to do with the alleged racist attack on Jussie.

It's about the brothers having a good time with some lady friends -- who, as you can see in pics from the set, are scantily clad or simply naked with dark body paint. They planned to cut loose with the women, but apparently end up getting drugged.

Think 'Fifty Shades' meets "Hustlers."

Remember, Abel and Ola were extras on "Empire" and that's how they met Jussie. But, ever since they called him out -- alleging he hired them to pull off a phony attack -- they've had a hard time scoring gigs.

LIGHTS OUT
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As you know ... Abel's mostly been boxing in Chicago, knocking out opponents and training with Floyd Mayweather's renowned trainer. He also landed one starring role in a movie, but it was super low-budget, and Ola's been shut out.

We can't vouch for how funny their new sketch will turn out, but it certainly LOOKS titillating. We're told the finished product will be released on YouTube and IG in the spring.

Jussie Smollett Chaotic Return to Court!!! Pleads Not Guilty on New Charges of Lying to Cops

CLEAR THE WAY!!!
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1:52 PM PT -- TMZ has obtained a copy of Jussie Smollett's motion to dismiss his new criminal case in Chicago, and he's basically arguing with a judge that he can't be tried again ... because he's already been penalized once before, which he thinks triggers double jeopardy.

In the docs, Jussie says when he forfeited his $10k bond as restitution to the city of Chicago a year ago when the OG charges were initially dropped ... that served as his official punishment. And, because it was recorded as his penalty, he believes he can't be tried again for the same alleged offenses.

A judge still needs to rule on his request.

9:11 AM PT -- The Osundairo brothers' attorney, Gloria Schmidt, just spoke to reporters apologizing for the brothers' involvement in the whole ordeal. She added the brothers are also willing to testify in the case.

WE'RE HERE FOR A REASON
FOX 32

8:40 AM PT -- Jussie pled not guilty and his legal team filed a motion for the case to be dismissed. He's scheduled to be back in court March 18.

Jussie Smollett is back in a Chicago courtroom, and you've gotta see the ruckus his arrival created outside ... as his supporters made sure they were heard.

Jussie was flanked Monday morning by an entourage of about 10 people -- some of them family members -- as he made his way into his arraignment on 6 new felony counts of lying to cops. At least one photog went down in a heap at Jussie's feet while he tried to get into the courthouse.

In the video, you can hear Jussie's backers chanting, "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!!!"

We're expecting the ex-"Empire" star to enter not guilty pleas to all 6 charges in the new indictment, which calls the 6 charges "disorderly conduct," but all involve allegations of lying to cops.

READY FOR COURT
FOX 32

Interestingly, Abel and Ola Osundairo also showed up at court this morning. There's no reason for them to be at his arraignment -- we know they'll be testifying against Jussie, but that's weeks down the road.

As we reported ... the special prosecutor, Dan Webb, said Jussie "planned and participated in a staged hate crime attack, and thereafter made numerous false statements to Chicago Police Dept. officers."

You'll recall, Jussie claimed he was attacked in Chicago by 2 white men ... alleging the men put a rope around his neck and doused him with bleach. He claimed they also yelled racial and homophobic slurs. As the investigation unfolded, 2 black men -- brothers Abel and Ola Osundario -- were detained and they told police Jussie paid them to stage the attack.

BODY CAM FOOTAGE

The special prosecutor effectively re-opened the controversial case nearly a year after Cook County prosecutors dropped all 16 felony counts against Smollett in March 2019. At the time, they called it a "just disposition and appropriate resolution," but not an exoneration.

Jussie's attorney, Tina Glandian, questioned the timing of the indictment. State Attorney Kim Foxx also questioned the timing. Jussie maintains he's innocent. If convicted, he faces up to 3 years in state prison.

Originally Published -- 7:29 AM PT

Jussie Smollett Osundairo Bros. Praying for Him ... To 'Finally Tell the Truth'

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WE CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH
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Jussie Smollett's alleged accomplices in staging a hate crime are speaking on camera for the first time since Jussie was hit with felony charges again ... and they're practically pleading for him to come clean.

The Osundairo brothers -- Abel and Ola -- were leaving Fina Estampa restaurant in Chicago Friday afternoon when they opened up about Jussie ... and how they feel about the whole debacle.

Ola starts by telling us they are praying for Jussie to "build up the courage to finally tell the truth" ... clearly implying they're sticking to their story -- that it was all a hoax perpetrated by Smollett.

TOOLS FOR THE CRIME
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Abel, who's walking with his brother and their lawyer, Gloria Schmidt, goes on to say the brothers feel remorseful for being involved in the incident and causing people pain ... especially real victims of hate crimes who may have been marginalized because of what they did.

As we reported ... Jussie's facing a new 6-count indictment for allegedly lying to law enforcement about his "attack" back in January 2019. He also still has to deal with the City of Chicago's lawsuit against him for around $500k in investigative costs.

The Osundairos have said they remain "fully committed to the public knowing the truth" and will cooperate with the renewed investigation, and tell us if that means testifying ... they'll do what needs to be done.

Donald Trump Jr. Jussie Smollett's a 'Decent Actor' ... But This Story Is Fishy!!!

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HIRE A WRITER NEXT TIME
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Donald Trump Jr. is back to taking shots at Jussie Smollett ... questioning the alleged racist attack, and wondering why Jussie didn't come up with a more believable scenario.

We got the President's son Thursday in New York City and asked what he thought the proper punishment should be for Jussie if he's convicted of the new charges following a grand jury indictment.

Don Jr. says the entire case is terrible for the country and wonders what would happen to Jussie's attackers if his version of events turned out to be true. He seems to think they would have it worse than Smollett.

Don also pokes holes in Jussie's claim his 2 attackers pounced when he went out alone for Subway at 2 AM in sub-zero temperatures. As he put it, Smollett is a "decent actor" but a terrible writer. Translation: He believes Jussie scripted the whole thing.

GOING AFTER JUSSIE

Jr. sounds a lot like his father ... remember, Donald Trump ripped Jussie during a rally last April ... calling the case a "disgrace," and Jussie a "third rate actor."

At least Jr. upgraded him to "decent." Still, he thinks Smollett will get off easy.

Jussie Smollett City of Chicago Lawsuit will NOT be Dropped ... Jussie Will Take the 5th

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Jussie Smollett now has a fight on his hands on 2 fronts, because the City of Chicago is not backing down from its lawsuit to recover the cost of investigating what authorities say was a fake "attack."

Multiple sources tell us, the City of Chicago could drop its case against Jussie to recover nearly half a mil but if he's convicted in criminal court the judge would almost certainly order restitution on behalf of the City.

Thing is ... it makes total sense for the City to press on with its lawsuit, despite the Special Prosecutor reinstituting 6 felony criminal charges against him. The standard of proof in a criminal case is way harder to meet than in a civil case. In a criminal case, the proof needs to be 99% solid against Jussie. In a civil case, it just has to be 51% - 49%.

Now, the new problem facing the City is that Jussie will almost certainly take the 5th against self-incrimination in the civil lawsuit because of the looming criminal case. In Illinois, if a defendant takes the 5th in a civil case, the judge can tell the jury it can conclude that person is hiding something.

One thing we know ... Abel and Ola Osundairo -- the 2 brothers who Jussie says attacked him -- will testify that the whole thing was a setup masterminded by Jussie.

TOOLS FOR THE CRIME
TMZ.com

It's an interesting situation because Jussie has brought the Osundairo brothers in as a defendant in the City of Chicago's lawsuit, claiming they did indeed attack him. It's gonna be hard to prove that if he doesn't take the stand.

BTW ... The City of Chicago is playing coy, saying, "the City stands by our original complaint seeking to recover costs for Mr. Smollett's false statements." We pressed and asked if that meant the case will not be dropped and a City official refused to comment, but sources with direct knowledge say the lawsuit will proceed.

Jussie Smollett New 6-Count Indictment ... For Alleged Racist Attack

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5:33 PM PT -- Jussie's attorney, Tina Glandian, is also questioning the timing of the indictment, saying, "the attempt to re-prosecute Mr. Smollett one year later on the eve of the Cook County State's Attorney election is clearly all about politics not justice."

She also says ...  "After more than five months of investigation, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has not found any evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever related to the dismissal of the charges against Mr. Smollett. Rather, the charges were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence."

2:59 PM PT -- Foxx's campaign is calling out the timing of the special prosecutor's announcement saying, "What's questionable here is the James Comey-like timing of that charging decision, just 35 days before an election, which can only be interpreted as the further politicization of the judicial system, something voters in the era of Donald Trump should consider offensive."

Jussie Smollett is facing felony charges in Chicago again -- the special prosecutor just announced an indictment against the actor for the alleged homophobic attack against him last year.

A grand jury handed up the new indictment against Jussie on Tuesday. Dan Webb was appointed special prosecutor for the case last summer. We're told he's now facing 6 felony counts for lying to law enforcement. The indictment calls the 6 charges "disorderly conduct," but all 6 involve allegations of lying to cops.

This effectively re-opens the controversial case that led to Smollett getting fired from "Empire."

Special Prosecutor Webb says Jussie "planned and participated in a staged hate crime attack, and thereafter made numerous false statements to Chicago Police Dept. officers."

Webb adds the new charges -- pared down from 16 to 6 -- were re-filed "in the interest of justice." Webb was critical of the State's Attorney who dismissed the case, saying Kim Foxx's office had no additional evidence from what the Grand Jury had when they indicted Smollett in the first place, so the dismissal made no sense.

Jussie and his attorneys had staged a legal battle against the special prosecutor, saying it would expose him to double jeopardy. That effort was shot down in court. You'll recall Cook County prosecutors dropped all 16 felony counts against Smollett in March 2019 ... calling it a "just disposition and appropriate resolution," but not an exoneration.

That decision pissed off Chicago law enforcement -- and in August, Webb was appointed special prosecutor to investigate how the case was handled, and if there was any reason to renew charges.

3/26/19
SOMETHING STINKS
Fox 32 Chicago

FOX32 in Chicago first reported the indictment.

A source connected to Jussie tells us, "The officers who re-investigated the case are the same ones who originally investigated it. These officers are currently being sued by Smollett. They have also spent taxpayer money on having these officers go to Los Angeles and harass members of Smollett's team and friends."

3/26/19
I AM VINDICATED
Fox 32 Chicago

We're told Jussie still maintains his innocence, and finds the timing of the indictment interesting -- because Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx is up for re-election next month. He plans to plead not guilty.

Jussie will be arraigned February 24. We're told he faces up to 3 years in state prison if convicted.

BODY CAM FOOTAGE

You'll recall, Jussie claimed he was attacked on a frigid night in Chicago by 2 white men who put a rope around his neck and doused him with bleach while yelling racial and homophobic slurs.

However, 2 black men -- brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo -- were eventually detained, and told police Jussie paid them to stage the whole attack.

After the new indictment, the Osundairos' attorney, Gloria Schmidt, says they remain "fully committed to the public knowing the truth" about the so-called attack -- and will cooperate with the investigation. However, they did not testify before the new grand jury. Instead, the panel relied on the brothers' previous testimony.

Originally published -- 2:02 PM PT

'Empire' Star Bryshere Gray 7-Eleven Clerk Claims He Spit, Freaked Out ... His Story's Different

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THE POLICE INTERVIEW

Bryshere Gray -- aka Yazz, aka Hakeem Lyon on "Empire" -- told cops he engaged in a food fight with a 7-Eleven clerk ... after she falsely accused him of spitting on the floor.

According to police body cam footage -- obtained by TMZ -- the actor was questioned about his altercation inside the Orlando store last month, which Gray claims started because the guy he was with spit on the floor and the cashier didn't approve. Imagine that.

Bryshere says she snapped, and even after he started cleaning up his friend's spit she continued to bark at him ... and then allegedly threw something at him.

Yazz says he returned fire by hurling a bag of chips at her before deciding to leave ... and he's sure the store's security footage will back up his claim she attacked first.

POINTING HIM OUT

However, the clerk clearly points the finger at the "Empire" star as the spitter when she speaks with police, and tells them she wants to press charges because he cussed her out and threw stuff at her first. She's also confident the cameras will prove her right.

Law enforcement sources tell us no arrests were made due to the conflicting statements and a lack of physical injuries ... but the clerk does want to press charges. Gray told cops he didn't want to go that route.

We're told surveillance footage is still being reviewed.

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