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Jussie Smollett may have dodged criminal charges in his allegedly faked Chicago attack, but he still faces a civil lawsuit from the city over the funds used to investigate the matter. Because of this, Smollett’s future with Empire hangs in the balance.

TMZ reports:

Fox just issued the following statement … “By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for season 6, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to ‘Empire.'”

Yep … sounds weird, that Fox wants to keep Jussie hanging just in case, but that’s the deal. It could be … Fox is hedging its bets, to see what happens in the civil case in which the City of Chicago is suing the actor for the costs of the investigation. The upshot of that case — Jussie will be tried for allegedly faking the “attack.” Perhaps if he wins, Fox will reconsider.

As we reported, Jussie has had lunch meetings with “Empire” execs, and for a time it looked like he may come back, but now it seems Jussie needs to find other employment.

Stay tuned as this story will develop.

Photo: Getty