Rep. Maxine Waters is not ready to believe the police in the case involving “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.
On Thursday, Smollett turned himself in and was released on bond after he was charged over orchestrating a hate crime that he alleged happened to him in January.
While speaking with a reporter from Variety at Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood Awards on Thursday, Waters said she wanted more details on the case before believing the police.
The reporter asked the California Democrat how “we make sense of the Jussie Smollett situation.”
“I don’t think we can at this point make sense of it. There are still some questions that we have, some answers that have to be given,” Waters said.
“He’s a friend, he was at my office, we marched in the Pride Parade together. He introduced me to Black Girls Rock. And so I believed him when I heard about it,” she added.
Waters added, “I still don’t know all of the details. I’m waiting for the final result of all of this. If in fact, it is a hoax, of course, I would be disappointed.”
— Variety (@Variety) February 21, 2019
Last month, Waters directly blamed President Donald Trump for the attack on Smollett.
“I’m pleased that he’s doing okay. But we have to understand this is happening for a reason. Why all of a sudden do we have people unable to study while black, unable to mow a lawn while black, unable to have picnic while black, and being attacked? It’s coming from the president of the United States. He’s dog whistling every day. He’s separating and dividing, and he’s basically emboldening those folks who feel this way.”
Smollett claimed that he was physically assaulted in Chicago by two men in ski masks who poured bleach on him, put a rope around his neck like a noose, and yelled, “This is MAGA country.”
Chicago Police indicated on Thursday that Smollett paid two brothers $3,500 to help him stage the entire attack because he was upset over his contract with “Empire.”
Despite Smollett being charged with a class four felony, several other Democrats are still refusing to outright condemn his abhorrent actions.
California Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris skirted by reporters on Thursday and refused to answer questions about the Smollett case and if she wanted to amend her original statement.
After apparently taking some heat over her refusal to walk back her original statement, where she called the fake attack a “modern day lynching,” Harris released a half-hearted statement.
Like most of you, I've seen the reports about Jussie Smollett, and I'm sad, frustrated, and disappointed. pic.twitter.com/91OHOymShi
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 21, 2019
“When anyone makes false claims to police, it not only diverts resources away from serious investigations but it makes it more difficult for other victims of crime to come forward,” Harris wrote.
Like Waters, she still found a way to imply Trump was to blame for Smollett lying and orchestrating a fake hate crime.