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

Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris favored as Biden edges closer to VP pick The Hill's Campaign Report: LIVE: Trump from Gettysburg | The many unknowns of 2020 | Omar among those facing primary challenges Sens. Markey, Cruz clash over coronavirus relief: 'It's not a goddamn joke Ted' MORE (Calif.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package 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 John TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection MORE called the alleged attack "horrible."

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