CNN Analyst Says Smollett’s Lawyers Should Blame Trump to Get Their Client Off

“The president has 99 problems and I would think that Smollett isn’t one of them.”

CNN analyst and former FBI agent Asha Rangappa suggested Friday that Jussie Smollett’s legal team should invoke the name of President Donald Trump to defend their client.

During a “CNN Newsroom” segment, anchor Jim Sciutto asked Rangappa about Trump’s remarks regarding the embattled actor, who is currently facing federal charges.

WATCH: Don Lemon Thinks Smollett Got Bad Advice

“The president getting involved in an active investigation. I mean … we could talk about how unprecedented that is, how damaging that is to the judicial system. That ship seems to have sailed,” Sciutto said. “In terms of the feds kind of swooping in here, coming to the rescue, and charging Smollett with something, is that realistic?”

Rangappa replied by saying the federal government does have an avenue to investigate the case.

“The president has 99 problems as they say, and I would think that Smollett isn’t one of them,” Rangappa says. “But there could be a federal hook here. You know there was some reporting by CNN that early on the DEA had requested the FBI to come in and take over the case. And this can happen in a hate crime. At the jurisdictions request, the FBI and DOJ can come in.”

However, she said that Trump’s tweets on the topic could hurt the government’s chances of getting a conviction.

“If they were doing that and looking at that case from the get-go, and then it turns out to be a hoax, the FBI and DOJ have, I think, every basis to potentially look at charges like mail fraud or wire fraud,” Rangappa said. “The problem with the president commenting on it is that if that is actually what’s happening, he is now helping the defense. Because if I were a defense lawyer, I would argue my client cannot get a fair trial. The president has tweeted out to 30 million people that he’s basically guilty.”

“Especially if the DOJ is looking at it,” Rangappa continues. “I think that this should be something that the president should not comment on at all.”


At issue is Trump’s recent tweet regarding the Smollett case, which the president called an “embarrassment” to the nation.

Smollett, 36, black and gay former star of Fox’s “Empire” TV show, reported to the Chicago Police Department on Jan. 29 that he was assaulted by two masked men who called him racist and homophobic slurs and shouted “This is ‘MAGA’ country!” He said his assailants poured what he believed was bleach on him and put a noose around his neck.

After initially investigating the incident as a hate crime, authorities quickly became suspicious the attack was staged by Smollett.

In February, Smollett was arrested and charged with staging the crime in an apparent effort to garner attention and sympathy. Fox would cut ties with the actor shortly after, removing him from the final two episodes of the season.

Charges against Smollett were dropped at a Tuesday court hearing in an unexpected move by prosecutors.

WATCH: Charles Barkley Brutally Mocks Jussie Smollett

About Post Author

Follow Us