During a Tuesday segment, an MSNBC anchor compared news that charges of making a false statement to police against actor Jussie Smollett were dropped to the Mueller report finding that President Donald Trump did not collude with Russia.
Speaking about Smollett case, attorney and MSNBC contributor Danny Cevallos told Hallie Jackson that the public may never see the investigative files in the Smollett case.
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“The actual case investigative file may live on in paper form somewhere in the catacombs of the district attorney’s office or the police department,” Cevallos said. “But yes, in terms of publicly available information, at least for the short term, that’s all that will be available to us, it is the story that Jussie Smollett tells us.”
Jackson replied with a thinly veiled reference to the Mueller report, insinuating that it was a similar instance of an individual “being exonerated.”
“It seems like a lot of people are being exonerated and a lot of records not being shared with the public — just saying,” Jackson said.
But some commenters took issue with the line of thought put forth by Jackson.
Journalist Steve Krakauer, formerly of CNN, appeared to criticize pundits “arguing a prosecutor dropping charges against Jussie Smollett is somehow a sign he actually may be innocent.”
Some of the same people who are using the fact that Mueller didn’t come to a conclusion on obstruction to essentially implicate Trump are the ones arguing a prosecutor dropping charges against Jussie Smollett is somehow a sign he actually may be innocent.
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) March 26, 2019
One commenter on Twitter said that the difference between the two cases is “the investigation found evidence that Smollett actually did what he was accused of doing.”
The 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for making a false police report hanging over Smollett were dropped in an emergency court hearing Tuesday afternoon. Attorneys for Smollett said that his record would be “wiped clean” of the “tragic complaint against him.”
The actor addressed reporters at a press conference claiming he’d “been truthful and consistent on every level since day one” and promising to “continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere.”
Smollett was lambasted by an initially sympathetic public after police investigations cast serious doubt on his claim that he was assaulted by two masked men who called him racist and homophobic slurs and shouted “This is ‘MAGA’ country!” He reported the alleged incident to the Chicago Police Department on Jan. 29.
Police investigated the alleged attack as a “possible hate crime,” and many other celebrities, activists, politicians, and journalists rushed to condemn not just the attackers but the supposed state of Trump’s America.
In February, two brothers, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, told police Smollett orchestrated the attack after a threatening letter he arranged to be sent to him on the “Empire” set failed to attract enough attention. A video leaked to the press last month showed the two Nigerian-American brothers buying a red hat and masks in Uptown Chicago.
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