Democrats' Tweets Supporting Jussie Smollett Still Live Despite Guilty Verdict

Several prominent Democrats tweeted support for Jussie Smollett in 2019 when the actor claimed that he had been the victim of a racist and homophobic attack—and those tweets were still live on Friday morning despite a jury finding Smollett had lied.

The former Empire star was convicted on five counts of disorderly conduct on Thursday, with the jury finding he had made three false police reports about the supposed attack in Chicago.

Some well-known Democrats in the House of Representatives and the Senate posted tweets in January 2019 expressing solidarity with Smollett and those messages were still available on Twitter when accessed by Newsweek early on Friday.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats and has campaigned to be the party's presidential nominee, tweeted in January 2019: "The racist and homophobic attack on Jussie Smollett is a horrific instance of the surging hostility toward minorities around the country. We must come together to eradicate all forms of bigotry and violence."

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) wrote: "The vicious attack on actor Jussie Smollett was an attempted modern-day lynching. I'm glad he's safe.

"To those in Congress who don't feel the urgency to pass our Anti-Lynching bill designating lynching as a federal hate crime– I urge you to pay attention."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York tweeted: "There is no such thing as 'racially charged.' This attack was not 'possibly' homophobic. It was a racist and homophobic attack.

"If you don't like what is happening to our country, then work to change it. It is no one's job to water down or sugar-coat the rise of hate crimes."

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a member of the "Squad" of progressive Democratic lawmakers alongside Ocasio-Cortez, also weighed in. The Michigan lawmaker quoted from a GQ article about the incident: "When one of the most famous black and gay men in America is not safe, the message is clearer than it has ever been."

Tlaib added in her own words: "The dangerous lies spewing from the right wing is killing & hurting our people. Thinking of you @JussieSmollett , and my LGBTQ neighbors."

Rep. Eric Swalwell of California posted two tweets about the reports. The first was on January 29, 2019, and expressed support for Smollett.

"What happened to Jussie Smollett is vile and tragic; thankfully, he will recover. But hate crimes like this are happening more frequently, egged on by careless hate-filled rhetoric. We start reducing these crimes by rejecting the speech—neither can ever be accepted as normal," Swalwell wrote.

In a second tweet on March 29, 2019, Swalwell addressed the accusation that Smollett had lied and contrasted him with then President Donald Trump.

"@realDonaldTrump wasn't criminally indicted for collusion, but that doesn't mean he didn't commit colluding acts," Swalwell tweeted. "Jussie Smollett was not criminally charged for what he did, but that doesn't mean he didn't conspire to stage the attack. We can be outraged about both."

Newsweek has asked the lawmakers' offices for comment.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris also posted tweets in support of Smollett in 2019 that remain live on the social network. Newsweek has asked the White House for comment.

Jussie Smollett at a 2019 Court Appearance
Actor Jussie Smollett after a court appearance at Leighton Courthouse in Chicago on March 26, 2019. He has been found guilty of five counts of disorderly conduct. Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images