Rev. Al Sharpton
said Jussie Smollett
ought to face “accountability to the maximum” if it turns out he staged the attack against him.
“I, among many others when hearing of the report, said that the reports were horrific and that we should come with all that we can come with in law enforcement to find out what happened and the guilty should suffer the maximum,” Sharpton said Sunday on his MSNBC program, "Politics Nation."
“I still maintain that,” he continued. “And if it is that Smollett and these gentlemen did in some way perpetuate something that is not true, they ought to face accountability to the maximum."
Sharpton went on to say that the new developments, which point to Smollett setting up the attack, shouldn’t be dismissed as a “left-wing hoax,” noting that many on the left and right, including President Trump, denounced the attack as initially reported.
Smollett claimed he was beaten in Chicago by two white men who threw a chemical substance on him and put a noose around his neck, with one yelling “this is MAGA country.” That story has since fallen apart, as Matt recaps:
[T]here’s been a lot of trouble corroborating this attack with evidence. First, Smollett was hesitant to turn over his cell phone. He was speaking with his agent when he was reportedly attacked. Then, the two suspects turned out to be two Nigerian brothers, who knew Smollett; one of which was an extra on Empire. They reportedly bought the rope that was used in the alleged assault, paid by Smollett to attack him, and even rehearsed it. CBS Chicago later reported that the rope was actually bought Crafty Beaver Hardware Store and that Smollett was the one who paid for it.
The "Empire" actor has denied the new developments.
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"As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with," Smollett's attorney told CNN in a statement. "He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying."