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As Jussie Smollett's Trial Begins, Here's What Biden, Harris Said About the Alleged Attack

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As former ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett’s criminal trial begins, here’s what President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris said about his alleged attack at the time.

In Jan. 2019, Biden tweeted, “What happened today to [Jussie Smollett] must never be tolerated in this country. We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts. We are with you, Jussie.”

Meanwhile, Harris, who was still in the Senate, tweeted, “[Jussie Smollett] is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I’m praying for his quick recovery.”

“This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate,” she added.

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In 2019, Smollett claimed two men attacked him in Chicago, Illinois, shouted racist and homophobic slurs, put a noose around his neck, and poured an unknown substance on him.

Celebrities and politicians, including then-President Donald Trump, expressed outrage shortly after Smollet first made the claim of the attack.

As police began to investigate, they found footage of the actor going to a Lowes with what looked like a noose around his neck following the alleged incident.

CNN notes, “About a month later, then-Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett allegedly paid two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack to take ‘advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,’ saying the brothers confessed to the plot.”

After details about Smollet’s alleged plot were revealed, Harris said in a statement, “Like most of you, I’ve seen the reports about Jussie Smollett, and I’m sad, frustrated, and disappointed.”

She added that the incident “distracts from” a rise in hate crimes, and it has “been seized by some who would like to dismiss and downplay the very real problems that we must address.”

Smollett was later indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct, which he pleaded not guilty to.

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However, those charges were later dropped as the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said, “After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.”

Months later, a judge approved the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the incident. In Feb. 2020, Smollett was indicted by a grand jury on six counts of making false reports.

The actor’s lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Smollett’s trial begins on Monday.

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