As CNN host Don Lemon covered Jussie Smollett's guilty verdict on his show Thursday night, he didn't mention his own involvement in the affair.
More than 30 minutes into Don Lemon Tonight, the host dedicated a segment to the Chicago jury finding the onetime Empire actor guilty on five out of six counts of lying to police after prosecutors said he faked a racist and homophobic attack against himself in 2019.
In the roughly five-minute segment, Lemon spoke to legal analyst Joey Jackson about what Smollett's sentencing may look like, with Jackson saying he thought it possible he would receive prison time. In the middle of that conversation, Lemon said Smollett "had to make up too many lies as to why he didn't want to do certain things. To cover. Like another lie and — I guess he got caught up in that because he took the stand himself. He got angry with the prosecutor as the prosecutor poked holes in his story, calling the only other witnesses liars."
What did not come up was Smollett testifying in court Monday that Lemon sent him a text message warning him that Chicago police doubted his story, which led to his resistance in handing over his phone records. Smollett's defense attorney said he plans to appeal the conviction.
Lemon didn't mention the Smollett case at all in the second hour he was on the air.
CNN PUT IN ANOTHER AWKWARD POSITION AS DON LEMON DRAGGED INTO JUSSIE SMOLLETT TRIAL
Lemon has not acknowledged this connection since Smollett revealed it under oath, and he and CNN have faced calls for some degree of accountability.
The CNN host did say in 2019 that he reached out to Smollett following reports of the attack because they were both black, gay, and had "fame." He claimed he only inquired about Smollett's well-being.
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The Lemon twist in the Smollett case comes days after CNN fired anchor Chris Cuomo.
Cuomo was initially suspended in light of new evidence that he used his media sources to assist in the defense of his older brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was facing allegations of sexual harassment. CNN said Dec. 4 it had hired an outside law firm to conduct an investigation. The network fired Chris Cuomo the next day, saying additional information had emerged warranting the move.
It was later revealed that he was fired after lawyer Debra Katz approached CNN with "documentary evidence" of "serious sexual misconduct" by a client. Chris Cuomo has denied the allegation of sexual misconduct.