Harris, Booker call for judgement on Jussie Smollett case to be withheld until investigation is completed

Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act Will Pence primary Trump — and win? Kavanaugh conspiracy? Demands to reopen investigation ignore both facts and the law MORE (Calif.) and Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer Congress can make progress on fighting emissions with Zero Food Waste Act MORE (N.J.), two of the Democrats running for the White House in 2020, called for judgement in the case of Jussie Smollett to be withheld until investigations have been completed.

Smollett, an actor on "Empire," told Chicago police that he was assaulted around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29 by two men who placed a rope around his neck, beat him and poured an unknown chemical substance on him. The black, gay actor says that the two men, who he said were wearing masks, yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him.


This Saturday, multiple law enforcement officials familiar with the probe into the attack told CNN that police believed Smollett had actually paid two men to carry out the assault. 

Smollet has vehemently denied that he played any part in the attack.

Harris initially condemned the reported attack as a "modern day lynching" when it happened. 

When asked about developments in the case Monday, she told reporters that further investigation was needed.

"I will say this about that case," she said. "I think that the facts are still unfolding, and I’m very concerned about the initial allegation that he made about what might have happened."

"And it’s something we should all take seriously whenever anyone alleges that kind of behavior, but there should be an investigation," Harris added. "And I think that once the investigation has concluded then we can all comment, but I’m not going to comment until I know the outcome of the investigation."

Booker similarly condemned the alleged attack when it was first reported, also calling it a modern-day lynching.

The New Jersey lawmaker told reporters Sunday that he would withhold judgment until "all the information actually comes out from on-the-record sources."

The two presidential hopefuls were not alone in calling out the incident when it first became news.

President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE called the alleged attack "horrible."

“It doesn’t get worse, as far as I’m concerned,” he said Jan. 31.