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Jussie Smollett, a former TV star who is accused of faking a hate crime to portray himself as a victim of violence at the hands of Trump supporters, was seen protesting at Trump Tower in New York over the weekend.
The Daily Mail reported that the 38-year-old former “Empire” cast member joined a Black Lives Matter rally outside of President Donald Trump’s luxury high rise building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
Smollett, masked and wearing a T-shirt, denim shorts and a hat, raised a fist in the air with other activists.
Jussie Smollett raises a fist at Black Lives Matter protest in front of Trump Tower in New York https://t.co/QaiZvc4EzY
— Daily Mail Celebrity (@DailyMailCeleb) July 27, 2020
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Smollett’s right inside forearm showed a tattoo representing the LGBT movement.
Trump Tower in Manhattan has been a draw for tourists in recent weeks since the city and Mayor Bill de Blasio commissioned a “Black Lives Matter” mural in front of the property.
On the same day Smollett was seen at Trump Tower, another large group held a banner demanding the resignation of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence with a ‘Revolution Now!’ flag, The Daily Mail reported.
The former TV star is accused of hiring two bothers to attack him in January 2019 in Chicago, ABC News reported.
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During the alleged attack, Smollett said two men put a noose around his neck, poured chemicals on him, and shouted that he was in “MAGA country,” a reference to Trump’s 2016 “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
Smollett also claimed the men used racist and homophonic slurs.
The brothers, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, have cooperated with the police.
The men allege Smollett, their associate, paid them to participate in the alleged hoax.
As news first spread of an alleged hate crime, President Trump quickly disavowed the apparent attack on Smollett.
“I think that’s horrible. It doesn’t get worse, as far as I’m concerned,” Trump told reporters on Jan. 31, 2019, according to a White House transcript.
However, after police stated they believed the crime was actually a hoax that Smollett paid to have committed against him, Trump scorched the actor.
Smollett had previously said he believed the attack occurred because of his opposition to Trump.
“I come really, really hard against 45,” he told ABC News. “I come really, really hard against his administration and I don’t hold my tongue.”
“I come really, really hard against 45. I don’t hold my tongue.” @JussieSmollett says he believes he was targeted because of his criticism toward Pres. Trump’s administration based on what was said during the attack. https://t.co/b5efiP0JCG pic.twitter.com/uaxer5iTB1
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 14, 2019
Smollett was accused of attempting to use the Black Lives Matter protests to his benefit in court last month by linking his case with national unrest about perceived racial bias in law enforcement.
Smollett is now the defendant facing six felony counts of disorderly conduct after he allegedly knowingly misled police to investigate charges he knew were false.
The Chicago Police Department wants to be reimbursed over $130,000 for costs related to the investigation into the alleged attack on Smollett, according to The Associated Press.
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