Actor Jussie Smollett testified Monday that he received assistance from CNN anchorman Don Lemon about the investigation into the hate crime he now stands accused of faking.
In court testimony, according to a Fox News reporter attending the trial, Mr. Smollett said he learned that the Chicago Police Department was becoming skeptical of his account, thanks to Mr. Lemon.
“Smollett, 39, said under oath that during the investigation, he received a text from the network’s Don Lemon — supposedly relaying information that the CPD didn’t believe his account of what happened,” Fox wrote.
Mr. Smollett’s testimony came just days after CNN fired Chris Cuomo, Mr. Lemon’s longtime lead-in anchorman, in part for his inserting himself into a major news story and giving advice to one of the principals — in that case the sexual-harassment accusations against then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the anchorman’s brother.
Fox News reported that representatives for Mr. Lemon and CNN had not responded to its request for comment.
Mr. Lemon has been open about being friends with Mr. Smollett, saying that the purported attack on Mr. Smollett — he said it was by White supporters of former President Donald Trump at 2 a.m. on a frigid night as he emerged from a Subway sandwich shop — was “personal” to him.
He had said the two men had communicated often since the purported incident, which he said Mr. Smollett had described to him.
Mr. Smollett faces six counts of felony disorderly conduct for giving a false police report — two accounts to each of three different officers — about the attack. While the crime is a Class 4 felony with a possible prison sentence of three years, Mr. Smollett is not likely to be actually locked up given his lack of a criminal record and other factors.