Wednesday 16 October 2019

Donald Trump calls Jussie Smollett case an ’embarrassment to our nation’

The US president has suggested the FBI and the Department of Justice will probe the case against the Empire actor.

Donald Trump says Jussie Smollett case an ’embarassment to our nation’ (Ashlee Rezin/AP)
Donald Trump says Jussie Smollett case an ’embarassment to our nation’ (Ashlee Rezin/AP)

By Keiran Southern, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

Donald Trump has called the Jussie Smollett case an “embarrassment” to the US days after all charges were dropped against the actor.

Prosecutors dropped 16 charges of disorderly conduct after alleging the Empire star had lied to police about being subjected to a hate crime attack, although authorities still maintain he is guilty.

The US president tweeted: “FBI & DOJ (Department of Justice) to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago.

“It is an embarrassment to our Nation!”

Mr Trump’s comment came after it was reported that the FBI would investigate the case against Smollett, who insists he is innocent.

Smollett’s lawyer has accused authorities of “continuing their campaign” against him, despite the charges being dropped.

Patricia Brown Holmes said the “the case is closed” and “no public official has the right to violate” her client’s “due process rights”.

Ms Holmes said Smollett “is innocent until proven guilty in the court of law”, adding: “We respectfully request all government agencies involved live up to the ethical tenets of their office.

“The case was dismissed. We should all allow Mr Smollett to move on with his life as a free citizen.”

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Jussie Smollett, right, with his lawyer Patrica Brown Holmes (Paul Beaty/AP)

Authorities have said they still believe Smollett filed a false police report alleging he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago in January.

The 36-year-old actor alleged two men beat him up and put a noose around his neck on January 29.

Police accused him of making it up and he was charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel called the dropping of charges “a whitewash of justice” and lashed out at Smollett for dragging the city’s reputation “through the mud”.

Cook County prosecutor Joseph Magats told reporters that officials dropped the case because Smollett forfeited a 10,000 dollar (£7,600) bond payment and carried out community service.

Prosecutors alleged at the time that Smollett staged a false attack because he was unhappy with his salary on musical drama Empire and wanted to raise his profile.

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