- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Stormy Daniels’ attorney called out people who swallowed “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s claim of being the victim of a hate crime, saying public figures were too quick to jump on the bandwagon and now need to “eat crow.”

On Wednesday evening, as Mr. Smollett was arrested on charges of filing a false police report, lawyer Michael Avenatti retweeted his comment from Monday that he was “extremely disappointed that J. Smollett staged a hate crime. I apologize for my comment made immediately after the news broke.”

Two days later, Mr. Avenatti tweeted that he was “dismayed that more people did not follow suit after I sent the below.”

He continued: “The time has now come for ALL to eat crow & denounce this stunt for what it was - a crime. And a serious one, because it makes it that much more difficult for true victims to be believed. #Apologies”

In legal and true-crime circles, there was much-whispered suspicion of Mr. Smollett’s account because it felt “too good” and some of the details seemed bizarre — muggers saying famously liberal Chicago was “MAGA country” and laying in wait until 2 a.m. on a frigid night, for example.

But numerous Democratic lawmakers immediately decried the attack and Mr. Smollett’s account as if they were facts, with some directly blaming President Trump.

In recent days, Rep. Adam Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have deleted tweets about the apparent attack, and Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey said earlier this week when asked about Mr. Smollett’s crumbling story that they would withhold judgment until the investigation was complete.

Earlier, when the investigation was even less complete, both senators had said Mr. Smollett was the victim of “an attempted modern-day lynching.”

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