ABC anchorwoman Robin Roberts dismissed speculation that she was too soft on actor Jussie Smollett, who stands accused of faking his racist, homophobic attack last month in Chicago.
Smollett, 36, sat down with Roberts for his first interview after he claimed he was attacked by 2 Trump supporters on Jan. 29. The interview aired on GMA on Thursday.
Roberts was heavily criticized for being too soft on the actor during the interview.
NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck wrote, “Roberts gave Smollett a soft platform to spin his tall tale less than 24 hours before it was blown to pieces.”
But others say Roberts, who is openly lesbian, may have inadvertently assisted cops in their investigation of the openly homosexual Empire star.
ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams explained to Roberts that comments the actor made during the interview could be used against him.
For example, Roberts asked Smollett if he believed the 2 shadowy figures seen in surveillance video could possibly be his attackers.
Smollett responded, “I don’t have any doubt in my mind that that’s them. Never did.”
“So now he’s sort of boxed in,” Abrams told Roberts.
Smollett was not aware that investigators had already identified the men in the video as his friends, Abel Osundairo and his younger brother Ola Osundairo.
Roberts also didn’t know about the brothers until after the interview.
“When I sat down with Jussie it was Tuesday night in Chicago, at the time to give his first account, publicly give his first account of what he said happened,” Roberts said. “At that time, on Tuesday, police officers were saying that his account was consistent, it was credible, and that he was being cooperative. This was all before the interview aired on Thursday, and then we found out about the brothers.”
TMZ reports that a grand jury may hear a case against Smollett for filing a false police report, which is a felony in Illinois. He could face up to three years in prison.