House Speaker Nancy Pelosi deleted her tweet supporting Empire actor Jussie Smollet, whose elaborately planned hoax attack has been unraveled by law enforcement.
Smollett, a gay African-American, alleged last month he was the victim of a “racially charged attack by two homophobic white men who yelled “This is MAGA Country” after beating him, dousing him with an unknown chemical substance and placing a noose around his neck.
The actor’s account of the incident immediately ignited widespread outrage and prompted Democrats and celebrities, including Pelosi, to hastily condemn President Trump and his supporters.
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) February 1, 2019
'Our truths cannot be erased. Our lives must not be erased. We will not be erased.' — Celebrities and activists are speaking out against hate after the racist, homophobic attack on Jussie Smollett pic.twitter.com/YZzbBJ7iXN
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 7, 2019
Chicago police told reporters Saturday they believe Smollett orchestrated the hate crime attack. Smollett paid two Nigerian brothers to orchestrate the assault and directed the brothers to purchase the rope found around his neck at a local hardware store.
NEW: Sources say at least one of the brothers purchased the rope used in Jussie Smollett incident at Crafty Beaver hardware store the weekend of Jan 25th.
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) February 17, 2019
Smollett paid for the rope and two red ball caps from Uptown Beauty supply to wear during the attacks so they would appear to be Trump supporters. He also paid the Nigerian brothers $3,500 before leaving for Nigeria and promised them $500 as they returned back to the US.
The eyebrow-raising developments come after Chicago police released the two brothers due to “new evidence” obtained in their interrogations.
Pelosi, along with Sen. Kamala Harris, D – Calif. and many top Democrat lawmakers, described Smollet’s hoax as a “modern-day lynching.
“The racist, homophobic attack on [Smollett] is an affront to our humanity. No one should be attacked for who they are or whom they love,” Pelosi wrote Jan. 29. “I pray that Jussie had a speedy recovery [and] that justice is served. May we all commit to ending this hate once [and] for all.”
.@JussieSmollett is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I’m praying for his quick recovery.
This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 29, 2019
The vicious attack on actor Jussie Smollett was an attempted modern-day lynching. I'm glad he's safe.
To those in Congress who don't feel the urgency to pass our Anti-Lynching bill designating lynching as a federal hate crime– I urge you to pay attention. https://t.co/EwXFxl5f2m
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) January 29, 2019
Harris and Booker have refused to offer comment on the newly revealed evidence proving Smollett coordinated the hate crime.
Michael Monico, the high-powered criminal defense attorney representing longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, revealed Thursday that he is also representing Smollett, a sign the actor-singer may be gearing up for a major legal battle.
Monico maintains his client had no involvement in organizing the attack.
“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,” his attorneys wrote 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.”