Don Lemon labeled Jussie Smollett a liar on Thursday evening (Dec. 9) just hours after the former “Empire” star was found guilty of staging a hate crime against himself in 2019.
During his CNN segment, Lemon said Smollett “had to make up too many lies” in order to explain the assault story he told police.
“I guess he got caught up in that because he took the stand himself. He got angry with the prosecutor, as the prosecutor poked holes in his story, calling the only other witnesses liars,” Lemon said.
The journalist also said Smollett’s staging of the incident might make it harder for “legitimate victims of hate crimes” to report abuse.
As reported by REVOLT, Smollett was convicted of five of six counts of felony disorderly conduct on Thursday. In 2019, the actor told police that two men attacked him while he was walking home, called him racist and homophobic slurs and yelled, “This is MAGA country.”
However, jurors sided with the two brothers Smollett accused of attacking him, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who claimed he paid them $3,500 to stage the incident.
While Lemon denounced Smollett’s actions on Thursday, he failed to address the part of the actor’s testimony that included him. During the trial, Smollett said that in 2019, it was Lemon who texted him to let him know that police were investigating his claims about the attack. As reported by REVOLT, Smollett also claimed Lemon advised him not to give his phone records to police for their investigation.
Lemon didn’t acknowledge that part of Smollett’s testimony on Thursday, but he did admit to TV viewers in the past that the case was “personal” to him because he and Smollett were friends. In a 2019 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Lemon also revealed he texted the actor “every day” to check on his wellbeing after the incident.
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