News & Politics

Uh, Oh. CNN's Don Lemon's Name Just Came Up at the Jussie Smollett Trial

Photo by Jason Mendez/Invision/AP

Now that CNN has established a bright-line test for getting rid of its anchors — no, not for lying on the air, but using the network’s resources to help friends and family — Don Lemon might be wondering if he might be “Chris Cuomo’d.”

The CNN anchor’s name has come up in the Jussie Smollett hate crime hoax trial and he might have some ‘splainin’ to do.

No one less than Jussie Smollett himself testified on Monday that he texted with the CNN anchor and the message was pivotal to his defense. Indeed, right after the “attack” on Smollett, Lemon admitted to texting the actor every day because “there’s not a lot of us out there. Sometimes he responds, sometimes he doesn’t.”

Related: Jussie Smollett’s Takes the Stand and His Story Goes From Ridiculous to Outrageous

One month after the alleged hoax crime, Lemon told Jada Pinkett on her Red Table Top program that he reached out to Smollett after the attack because “I wasn’t shocked. [But] I didn’t like that it happened to him. … I called him because we have mutual friends. I got the friend on the phone, the friend talked to me for a minute. The friend goes, ‘Jussie’s here seeing the doctor.’ And I talked to Jussie for a minute …”

But it’s what other things Lemon texted that may be of interest in the corner office at CNN.

The New York Post reported that Smollett told the court “he first knew that police doubted his race-hate attack was real after getting a text message from Lemon, saying that was key in his decision not to hand his phone records over to cops.”

Lemon, who’s covering the trial on his CNN show, didn’t mention that he was the guy who told Smollett that the cops didn’t believe his story.

During his coverage of the trial in which his own name came up, Lemon, along with reporter Omar Jiminez, never mentioned it.

The Media Research Center’s Nicholas Fondacaro wrote on Twitter that the five-minute seven-second CNN segment never once mentioned Lemon’s participation in the story.

Helping Smollett in his defense is a journalistic conflict of interest. It’s not even a close call, as pointed out by media critic Joe Concha.

Chris Cuomo was fired from CNN over the weekend because text messages revealed he’d been helping his brother, Andrew Cuomo, do oppo research on women accusing the now-former New York governor of sexual harassment and worse.

Smollett faces six felony counts for disorderly conduct and in connection to the hoax attack.