“Please don’t disrespect the cops’ diligent work.”
A lot of people were unimpressed with Brian Stelter’s take on the Jussie Smollett case Tuesday, and one of them was a fellow CNN employee.
Following news that all 16 charges of disorderly conduct against the actor had been dropped, Stelter declared the case an impenetrable mystery, saying that “we may never know” what happened.
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“The narrative has once again changed from victim, you know, to villain back to victim. It’s been very confusing,” Stelter said on his show, “Reliable Sources.” “People don’t know what to believe and we may never know what happened on the street that night in Chicago.”
Saying that Smollett’s career has been “in limbo” since Chicago police last month accused him of staging a fake hate crime against himself, Stelter predicted that the actor would soon be back on set.
But CNN political commentator Steve Cortes was having none of it. In a tweet Tuesday, the conservative suggested that police have presented “incredibly, detailed, documented evidence” that Smollett paid two Nigerian-American brothers to faux-attack him and then lied to police that he had been jumped by bigoted Trump supporter.
“Please don’t disrespect the cops’ diligent work,” Cortes said.
Brian, unless you believe the Chicago Police created an insanely complex hoax themselves, we know precisely what happened that night.
— Steve Cortes (@CortesSteve) March 26, 2019
Although the Cook County Prosecutor’s office suddenly decided to drop the case against Smollett, Chicago officials stood behind the weeks of police work supporting the charges. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said justice had not been served, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said there had been “a whitewash of justice” and even the lead prosecutor in the case said he thought Smollett was guilty.
However, Stelter responded to his critics with a both sides argument.
Cool. Were you there that night? Smollett's camp says he was the victim of a hate crime. The police dispute that. There isn't video of the alleged attack. Thus, we may never know what really happened.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 26, 2019
That earned him a brutal ratio-ing, and more criticism from conservatives, with actor James Woods deeming Stelter “brain dead.”
It was the second Twitter takedown of Stelter in recent days. Over the weekend, he was slammed for trying to defend coverage of the debunked theory that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia. Nevertheless, host Tucker Carlson reportedly has plans to gift his CNN counterpart a second box of donuts.
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- CNN host Brian Stelter.: Screen grab