- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Queen Latifah says she’s “gotta go” with “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s claims of a “MAGA country” attack in Chicago on Jan. 29 despite charges of felony disorderly conduct and filing a false police report.

The celebrity told Yahoo News’ “Through Her Eyes” for an interview released Tuesday that she will back Mr. Smollett’s allegations of a racist and homophobic beating until she sees “definitive proof” proving contrary.

“The guy I’ve seen has always been someone who cares about people, who cares about others, and who’s very kind and who’s always been cool and sweet — and that’s the guy I know,” the entertainer told host Zainab Salbi. “So, until I could see some definitive, which I haven’t seen yet, then, you know, I gotta go with him until I see otherwise.”

Ms. Salbi then pressed her guest to expand on what the story means through a “racial justice lens.”

“I don’t even know what to make of it,” the actress, who appeared on “Empire” in 2017 as the character Carlotta Brown, said. “All I know is that I hope everything works out in the end, and everybody basically comes out unscathed.”

Mr. Smollett, a black gay man, claims he was attacked by two men in frigid weather in Chicago at 2 a.m.

An exhaustive investigation involving the examination of hundreds of hours of surveillance footage led authorities to brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo. They say they were paid to attack the actor in an orchestrated attack involving rope, bleach and the “MAGA country!” taunt.

Mr. Smollett could face three years in prison if he is convicted of the charges against him.

The premiere episode of “Through Her Eyes” airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST.

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