Cory Booker says he is not ready to pass judgement on the Jussie Smollett case until more information comes out from “on the record sources.” Booker, the New Jersey senator and presidential hopeful, was asked about the case by reporters after a campaign event in Rochester, New Hampshire. You can see Booker’s response below:
Booker first made it clear that he’s not ready to weigh in on the complex case yet. Then he shifted gear to talk about the problem of hate crimes and bias crimes in the United States; Booker said that bias crimes are on the rise in America, and said that since 911, there has been an uptick in white supremacist attacks on US soil. Here is his response, as told to the AP:
“Well, the information is still coming out. I’m going to withhold it until all of the information actually comes out from on the record sources. We know in America that bigoted and biased attacks are on the rise, in a serious way. We actually even know in this country, that since 911 the majority of attacks on our soil have been right wing terrorist attacks, the majority of them white supremacist attacks — from the horrific shootings in Pittsburgh, or in South Carolina church, what we’re seeing is attacks on people because they’re different. And we all need to join together and condemn those attacks, and the hatred and the bigotry that sources them.”
Jussie Smollett, the star of TV’s Empire, told police that he was attacked by two unknown men in Chicago, on January 29. Smollett said his attackers yelled out homophobic and racial slurs, put a rope around his neck, and poured a chemical on him. There was a national outcry after Smollett reported the attack. Cory Booker called the event a “modern day lynching” at the time.
But more recently, police in Chicago say that they have new information which has “shifted” the way they’re investigating the case. CBS has reported that — according to off-the-record sources — Booker paid two brothers to “stage” the attack against him. CNN also cites unnamed sources who say that the actor arranged to have the attack on him staged. In a statement issued by his attorneys, Smollett denied having anything to do with his attack.