President Donald Trump declared during his rally in Wisconsin on Saturday that former actor Jussie Smollett’s case in which he allegedly paid friends to beat him up was a “disgrace” to the country.
“It’s called MAGA country. You know, I didn’t hear that term until that third rate actor in Chicago went out, and he said, ‘I was beaten up by MAGA country,’ can you believe it?” Trump said. “Now, that’s a hate crime, right? He said he was beaten up by MAGA country. Turned out to be a total lie. But think of it, MAGA. Make America Great Again. And, by the way, I have to tell you, that case in Chicago is a disgrace to our nation.”
The comments came after Smollett allegedly paid two brothers to beat him up to make it look like a hate crime. The alleged attackers yelled, “this is MAGA country,” according to Smollett’s initial statement to police. Police officials formally charged the “Empire” actor with 16 charges including making up a hate crime and disorderly conduct on March 14. (RELATED: Jussie Smollett Spotted At Lunch With ‘Empire’ Producer)
Prosecutors in the case dropped the charges in March, claiming that the actor’s prior community service was enough of an outcome to justify ending the case.
“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,” prosecutors said in a statement, CNN reported at the time.
A Cook County judge accused Prosecutor Kim Foxx’s office of a double standard in their decision to release the actor during a hearing unrelated to the case.
“I’d like to know why Ms. Clark is being treated differently than Jussie Smollett. It’s a disorderly conduct case. A lot less egregious than Mr. Smollett’s case. I have a problem with it,” Judge Marc Martin said, referencing the defendant standing before him at the time.
“Ms. Clark is not a movie star, she doesn’t have a high-priced lawyer,” Judge Martin continued. “And this smells big time. Your office created this mess. There’s no publicity on this case. Press gets ahold of this; it’ll be the newspaper.”