President Donald Trump Tweets that FBI, DOJ Will Review Jussie Smollett Case
By CBS News
Oliver Contreras - Pool/Getty Images
President Donald Trump says that his FBI and Justice Department would be reviewing Jussie Smollett's case after state prosecutors decided to drop charges against the actor for lying to police about an alleged attack. Trump called the situation an "embarrassment to our nation" in an early-morning tweet on Thursday.
Chicago police opened a hate crime investigation after Smollett said he was attacked near his apartment. According to police, Smollett said two men approached him shouting "racial and homophobic slurs," poured an "unknown chemical substance" on him and wrapped a noose around his neck. Police confirmed to CBS News that in a second interview with police, Smollett told detectives his attackers yelled, "This is MAGA country."
Trump told reporters at the White House shortly after news of the attack that it was was "horrible," adding "it doesn't get worse, as far as I'm concerned."
But amid claims that Smollett had concocted the story of Trump supporters carrying out the alleged attack, the president slammed Smollett for lying, tweeting that his "dangerous comments" had "insulted" his supporters.
A Chicago grand jury later charged Smollett with 16 felony counts for each alleged lie he told police. But on Tuesday, after Smollett pleaded not guilty, the Cook County State's Attorney Office announced that all charges against the actor were dropped and his record would be wiped clean.
The FBI had been involved in the Smollett investigation from the beginning, specifically looking into alleged "threatening" letters Chicago police say Smollett had sent himself.
It's unclear what the Justice Department would be "reviewing" or why. The office of the Illinois attorney general, who would have oversight over a misconduct allegation by the state's attorney, told CBS News they are not going to review the case. The Department of Justice declined to comment on the investigation.
CBS News' Alturo Rhymes and Jeff Pegues contributed to this report.
This story was originally published by CBS News on March 28, 2019 at 10:22 a.m. ET.