Bryshere Gray, known best to television viewers as Hakeem Lyon on the Fox drama Empire, has formally entered a guilty plea in his domestic violence case. The actor was originally arrested last summer following a situation that involved a standoff with police and crisis negotiators. At the time, Gray was charged with misdemeanor assault (domestic violence), felony aggravated assault (strangulation) and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Now, after the plea, the actor is heading to jail.
Bryshere Gray pled guilty to felony aggravated assault, according to legal documents obtained by TMZ. As part of this plea agreement, Gray has been sentenced to 10 days in county jail and will serve three years of probation. The actor has also been ordered to pay restitution as a part of the deal. In addition, he’ll be required to enroll in a domestic violence offender treatment program.
The probation also comes with a few other stipulations, one of which is that Bryshere Gray will be prohibited from consuming illegal drugs. With this, he’ll have to submit for drug and alcohol testing. The actor is also prohibited from possessing any kind of firearm, and this even includes tasers and stun guns. Additionally, if Gray is ever contacted by law enforcement, he must check in with his probation officer within 72 hours. He must also have written permission from authorities before associating with anyone who has a criminal record.
Back in July 2020, the actor was taken into custody after police received a call to assist a woman. The woman in question was reported to be Bryshere Gray’s wife, who flagged down a bystander and alleged that her husband had assaulted her for hours at their home. At the time, police said Gray’s wife had numerous visible injuries on her body, and authorities claimed that the actor strangled his wife, causing her to temporarily lose consciousness during the incident. She was later taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for her injuries.
Bryshere Gray played Empire’s Hakeem Lyon during the show’s entire six-season run. The character was absent for portions of the final season though, at the time, producers assured fans that both Gray and his character were still key parts of the show. Aside from the Lee Daniels-created soap opera, Gray is likely best known for his portrayal of musician Michael Bivins in The New Edition Story.
This wouldn’t be the first time an Empire star has faced legal problems. Series breakout Jussie Smollett was involved in a 2019 incident that was investigated by police as a hate crime, but rumors later began to circulate that Smollett staged the incident and filed a false police report. Early last year, Smollett was indicted on six counts for allegedly making four false police reports. Amid the drama, the actor did not appear during the sixth and final season of Empire.
As of right now, it’s unclear as to how Bryshere Gray plans to continue within his acting career. But should he continue to do so, it’s likely that certain conditions would have to be put in place if or when he participates in a production.
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Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.