Donald Trump attacks ‘third-rate actor’ Jussie Smollett at Wisconsin rally
President Donald Trump has branded the failure to prosecute Empire actor Jussie Smollett a “disgrace.”
Speaking at a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Saturday (April 27), the US leader hit out at the decision to drop criminal charges against Smollett, who was accused of faking a racist and homophobic hate crime attack on January 26 in Chicago.
Trump says Jussie Smollett case is a ‘disgrace’
Addressing his supporters, Trump said: “We have the greatest theme in American politics, ‘Make America Great Again.’ It’s called MAGA country!
“You know, I didn’t hear that term until that third rate actor in Chicago went out and he said ‘I was beaten up by MAGA country,’ can you believe it?
“Now that’s a hate crime, right? He said he was beaten up by MAGA country. Turned out to be a total lie.”
He added: “By the way, I have to tell you that case in Chicago is a disgrace to our nation. A disgrace.”
Prosecutors dropped charges against Smollett in March and sealed the court records in the case.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said the decision to drop all charges was taken “after reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case,” though Chicago officials have since repeated the allegations against Smollett.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 28, 2019
The actor is now facing a civil lawsuit from the city of Chicago to reclaim the cost of the police investigation.
A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the city on April 11, claiming that Smollett “submitted a false police report” and “in reality… knew his attackers and orchestrated the purported attack himself.”
The lawsuit seeks a fine of $1,000 against Smollett “for each false statement he made,” and damages amounting to at least the $130,106 spent by police in overtime pay “as result of Defendant’s false statements.”
Empire stars demand return of Jussie Smollett for sixth season
It is unclear whether the actor is set to return to Fox show Empire for the show’s sixth season.
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The cast of Empire released a joint letter on Wednesday (April 24) calling for the embattled actor to return to the drama, after creator Lee Daniels admitted that Smollett’s future is still up in the air.
Empire stars Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Bryshere Y. Gray, Trai Byers, Gabourey Sidibe and Nicole Ari Parker wrote: “We write today to ask you to keep Jussie on the cast so that we can all put this behind us and move forward.
“t’s our hope that together we will move into our sixth season as the entire Empire family should.”
They added: “Throughout Empire’s five seasons working with Jussie and watching how he has conducted himself throughout this traumatic event, we have come to know not just the character Jussie portrays, but also truly come to know Jussie’s personal character.
“He is kind. He is compassionate. He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity.
“He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped. We are confident in his lawyer’s assurance that the case was dismissed because it would not have prevailed.”