Trump Slams Smollett’s Hoax Attack as ‘Hate Crime in Reverse’, Says 'If Republican, He'd Be In Jail'
12:59 GMT 11.12.2021 (Updated: 16:30 GMT 08.12.2022)
Black, homosexual former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett was accused of orchestrating a racist and homophobic attack against himself in January 2019 and of lying to the police, as a jury in Chicago delivered a verdict in the staged hate crime case on 9 December.
Former President Donald Trump denounced Jussie Smollett’s hoax police report
as “a hate crime in reverse” after a Chicago jury delivered the “Empire” star’s guilty verdict on Thursday.
“This is really a hate crime. Sort of a hate crime in reverse. And he’s not going to get away with it,” Trump said in a phone interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Friday night.
“If he were a Republican, if he were on the other side, he’d be in jail for 25 years for hate crimes for what he did and for what he said,” he fumed
11 December 2021, 02:11 GMT
Trump’s remarks come as during her regular press briefing at the White House, Jen Psaki said: “There are lessons learned, perhaps for everybody who commented at the time, including former President Trump."
Psaki was referring
to the fact that then-President Trump also condemned the alleged attack at the time it made headlines. In fact, Smollett had been supported by numerous celebrities. He was vocally backed by future President Joe Biden and his soon-to-be running mate Kamala Harris.
On Thursday, after two days of deliberation, a jury in Chicago criminal court found Smollett guilty of orchestrating a well-publicised racist and homophobic attack against himself in January 2019.
“This was an absolute con job and he was the con man and he wanted to try and get sympathy so he could get his contract renewed for his ridiculous television series and that didn’t work out too well,” added Trump.
The 39-year-old disgraced actor had claimed two masked men attacked him in January 2019 outside his Chicago apartment late at night. He informed police that the unknown suspects had hurled anti-gay and racist comments at him, threw a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and shouted, "this is MAGA country."
MAGA, or Make America Great Again, is a political slogan used by Donald Trump during his 2016 and 2020 American presidential campaigns.
Prosecutors said that Smollet had staged the fake Hate Crime to raise his salary at the television network. He was accused of paying two brothers whom he was friendly with, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, $3,500 to help stage the "attack".
9 December 2021, 00:10 GMT
About a month after the “attack”, then-Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett allegedly paid the two brothers – extras on the show - to help him take "advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career." According to Johnson, the brothers confessed to the concocted plot.
Smollett, who had taken the stand in his own defense during the trial, repeatedly denied the attack was a fake, inisting “there was no hoax on my part” and that the two brothers who had testified against him were “liars.”
Jussie Smollett was released on Thursday, with the post-trial hearing scheduled for 27 January. His lead defense attorney Nenye Uche said the actor plans to appeal the conviction.
A class 4 felony, disorderly conduct carries a sentence of up to three years in prison. However, cited experts have claimed Smollett will likely be placed on probation, possibly ordered to perform community service.