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Donald Trump held a rally in MI on Thursday (Marc h28) night, where he addressed the controversy surrounding Jussie Smollett. Denying the claims of fraud, he maintained that on January 29, two men beat him, poured bleach on him and placed a rope around his neck before yelling, "This is MAGA country" (a blunt reference to Trump's campaign slogan "Make American Great Again").

Investigators later charged Smollett with paying US$3,500 (S$4,700) to the two men to pretend to attack him in order to garner public sympathy for himself.

"He said, he said, he was attacked by 'MAGA country.' Ever hear that one?"

While not mentioning Foxx by name, the National District Attorneys Association's statement on "best practices" said a prosecutor should not take "advice from politically connected friends of the accused", should not recuse herself without recusing the entire office and noted that "a case with the consequential effects of Mr. Smollett's should not be resolved without a finding of guilt or innocence".

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The mayor expanded on his comments for reporters at a later press conference, insisting that he is dead serious about sending Smollett an invoice, and noting that he "expects Smollett and his legal team to write a check", according to Chicago's NBC affiliate.

The mayor then called Chicago a "Trump-free zone" and blamed the president for creating a "toxic" and "hate-filled" environment that allowed Smollett to think he could get away with faking a hate crime. "It is an embarrassment to our Nation!"

Trump, wading into the Smollett saga, said he'd asked federal law enforcement officials to look into Smollett's case. That faded quickly after the actor's arrest, and the case was seized on by some as an example of what Trump likes to deride as "fake news". So Chicago police added up the costs of the investigation and sent Smollett a bill for $130,106.15 the Tribune reports. One would also have to wonder if the creator of the popular show Empire wants any more drama in the form of Jussie Smollett being involved with the show. His lawyers said he hopes to move on with his career, but it remains unclear whether he will return to Empire after being written out of the last two episodes of the most recent season. As part of his off-the-books "deal" with the Cook County State's Attorney, however, Smollett has only ponied up $10,000 - the 10% surety he put down when he was bonded out of court on his first charge.


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