Interview on KPCC's AIRTALK February 21 2019

Discussion of Jesse Smollett Incident and faux Hate Crime

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Hate crime or fake attack: the twists and turns of the Jussie Smollett case

AirTalk® | February 21, 2019

Last month, “Empire” actor and R&B singer Jussie Smollett told Chicago police that two men physically attacked him and yelled racial and homophobic slurs.

Smollett said he was attacked by two masked men as he was walking home from a Subway sandwich shop at around 2 a.m on Jan. 29. Police say the investigation shifted after they questioned two brothers who were in the area that morning.

The 36-year-old was charged Wednesday with felony disorderly conduct, a charge that could bring up to three years in prison. Police say the actor hired two brothers to help him stage an attack against himself.

Smollett turned himself in and was arrested earlier Thursday to face accusations that he filed a false police report.

LISTEN HERE

Guests:

Dominic Patten, senior editor at Deadline Hollywood, the entertainment news site, who’s been following the story; he tweets @DeadlineDominic

Michael Kraut, criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, and former prosecutor who worked as a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles for close to 15 years

Brian Levin, professor of criminal justice and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino

David Lehrer, president of Community Advocates, Inc., a nonprofit organization looking at race relations; former Los Angeles regional director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for 27 years; he tweets @dlehrer