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Celebrities, athletes, others accused of lying to the public

February 22, 2019
FILE - In this May 20, 2016 file photo, actor and singer Jussie Smollett attends the "Empire" FYC Event in Los Angeles. A police official says "Empire" actor is now considered a suspect "for filing a false police report" and that detectives are presenting the case against him to a grand jury. Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men while walking home from a Subway sandwich shop at around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29. He says they beat him, hurled racist and homophobic insults at him and looped a rope around his neck before fleeing. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

CHICAGO (AP) — Actor Jussie Smollett is accused of staging a racist, anti-gay attack on himself in Chicago in January in a celebrity scandal that has captured attention online and in the media. Smollett is not the first celebrity to be accused of lying to the public. But he faces a felony charge for allegedly filing a false police report.

A look at some of the other scandals involving celebrities, athletes and others:

Feb. 10, 2015, Brian Williams:

NBC suspended the “Nightly News” anchor and managing editor for six months without pay amid questions about his memories and experiences while covering the Iraq War. Lester Holt was eventually named Williams’ replacement on “Nightly News.”

Sept. 16, 2015, Steve Rannazzisi:

The comedian and actor admitted to the New York Times that he lied about working in the World Trade Center when terrorists attacked on Sept. 11. Rannazzisi said telling the story was “a mistake that I deeply regret and for which apologies may still not be enough.”

Feb. 19, 2015, Bill O’Reilly:

O’Reilly was accused of claiming he had reported in a combat zone for CBS News during the 1982 Falklands War when he was more than 1,000 miles from the front. An article questioning the validity of his story was first published by Mother Jones. O’Reilly vehemently denied the report, saying to any reporters working on a story about him, “I am coming after you with everything I have.” He was fired from Fox News in 2017 amid harassment allegations.

Jan. 18, 2013, Lance Armstrong:

The disgraced seven-time Tour de France winner admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he used steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs during those championship rides. He later settled a $100 million lawsuit with the federal government.

Jan. 16, 2013, Manti Te’o:

Te’o and Notre Dame, where the linebacker played at the time, issued a statement saying Te’o had been the victim of a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua and others conspired “to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia” after Deadspin published a story detailing the fake relationship. Te’o played for the New Orleans Saints last season.

Jan. 27, 2006, James Frey:

The author of the 2003 memoir “A Million Little Pieces” admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he partially fabricated or embellished parts of the book. Winfrey, who had included the memoir in her book club, chastised him for the lies. In 2018, it was announced that the book will be brought to the big screen .

March 17, 2005, Lil’ Kim:

The Grammy-winning rapper was convicted of lying to a federal grand jury to protect friends involved in a 2001 shootout outside a Manhattan radio station. She was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and fined $50,000.

March 5, 2004, Martha Stewart:

Stewart was convicted of lying to prosecutors about a stock sale and sentenced to five months in federal prison. Since her release, Stewart has hosted numerous talk shows and cooking programs.

Aug. 17, 1998, President Bill Clinton:

Months after famously declaring he “did not have sexual relations with that woman,” President Clinton gave a nationally televised statement to admit to having a relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky that was “not appropriate.” In December 1998, the Republican-led House voted to impeach Clinton but he was eventually acquitted in the Senate and remained in office.

March 16, 1994, Tonya Harding:

A former Olympic figure skater, Harding pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution in the attack on rival skater Nancy Kerrigan. As part of the plea deal, Harding resigned from the U.S. Figure Skating Association, ending her amateur career. She was also fined $100,000 and given three years’ supervised probation.

Nov. 19, 1990, Milli Vanilli:

The duo thought to be vocalizing hit songs like “Girl You Know It’s True” and “Blame It on the Rain” had their Grammy taken away by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences after its producer confirmed rumors that Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan were only front men on the album that won them Best New Artist. The two later put out an album called “Rob & Fab” using their own voices. Pilatus died in 1998.

Aug. 24, 1989, Pete Rose:

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti banned Rose from baseball for life. At the time, Rose was managing the Cincinnati Reds. Giamatti said he had evidence that Rose had bet on baseball games, specifically ones involving the Reds. Multiple reinstatement efforts to allow Rose back into MLB’s good graces have failed. Giamatti died eight days after Rose’s banishment.

Jan. 28, 1972, Clifford Irving:

Said to be writing a supposed autobiography about the notoriously reclusive Howard Hughes, Irving admitted to forging the book. The confession came a few weeks after Hughes gave a telephone conference with reporters to say he had never met Irving. Hughes’ lawyer sued Irving and his publisher. Irving was eventually found guilty of fraud and sentenced to six months in prison. He died in 2017.

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Check out the AP’s complete coverage of the Jussie Smollett case.

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