Former President Donald Trump called Jussie Smollett’s false police report about being attacked by Trump supporters “a hate crime in reverse” in response to the disgraced “Empire” star’s guilty verdict delivered this week.
“This is really a hate crime. Sort of a hate crime in reverse. And he’s not going to get away with it,” Trump said during a phone interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Friday night.
“If he were a Republican, if he were on the other side, he’d be in jail for 25 years for hate crimes for what he did and for what he said,” he said at one point.
Smollett claimed that two men wearing “Make America Great Again” hats beat him up, tied a noose around his neck and doused him in bleach.
On Thursday, a jury in Chicago criminal court found Smollett guilty of five of six counts of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report after testimony from 13 witnesses.
Smollett, 39, who took the stand in his own defense during the trial, now faces up to three years in prison. Smollett’s lead defense attorney Nenye Uche said the actor plans to appeal the conviction.
Smollett told cops he was attacked in the early morning on Jan. 29, 2019 by two white men who yelled racist and homophobic slurs and told him “This is MAGA country!” while he was out getting a sandwich.
Prosecutors said Smollet staged a fake hate crime in order to raise his salary at the television network, paying two brothers whom he was friendly with — Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo — $3,500 to help with the hoax.
“This was an absolute con job and he was the con man and he wanted to try and get sympathy so he could get his contract renewed for his ridiculous television series and that didn’t work out too well,” Trump said.