Al Sharpton Says Jussie Smollett Should ‘Face Accountability to the Maximum’ If Attack Was Staged

The MSNBC host and civil rights leader says the facts must come out

Last Updated: February 18, 2019 @ 8:33 AM

Al Sharpton said that “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett should face severe consequences if the truth ultimately shows he fabricated or staged the hate crime assault he says occurred in Chicago last month.

“If it is found that Smollett and these gentlemen did in some way perpetrate something that is not true, they ought to face accountability to the maximum,” the MSNBC host and civil rights leader said during a Sunday airing of his program “Politics Nation.”

Sharpton did not define what he meant by “maximum,” but filing a false policy report is a felony in Illinois and punishable by up to three years in prison, “GMA” reported earlier on Monday.

The MSNBC host however clearly stated that he was waiting for all the facts to come in and that whoever was at fault should face justice.

“I among many others when hearing of the reports said the reports were horrific and that we should come with all that we can come with in law enforcement to find out what happened and the guilty should suffer the maximum. I still maintain that,” he said. “Let’s not act like this is some left wing hoax that some are saying on social media. President Trump called this horrible and he’s certainly not a left winger.”

On Jan. 29, Smollett first reported the attack to police saying that two men in MAGA hats and ski masks attacked him early in the morning near a Subway sandwich shop, shouting racial slurs and the line, “This is MAGA country.” For weeks, however, cops struggled to crack the case. Two persons of interest identified and arrested by the police were later released.

New reporting from CNN and local Chicago news sources later have said Smollett staged the attack with two person’s of interest — one of whom is known to have appeared in Empire as an extra. Reps for the Chicago PD told TheWrap Monday that they were “not in a position to confirm, deny or comment on the validity of what’s been unofficially released.”

In a weekend statement, attorneys for the actor, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, strongly denied the reporting from CNN and elsewhere saying Smollett “has been further victimized” by the claims.