On Sunday, in the aftermath of revelations that the alleged hate crime attack against actor Jussie Smollett was probably a hoax orchestrated by Smollett himself, MSNBC contributor and former federal prosecutor Paul Butler was among those liberals apparently trying to cling to the possibility that the high-profile actor might be telling the truth.
Even though it should not be unusual for police trying to piece together an alleged crime they did not witness might have to revise their working theory of what happened, Butler suggested that the cops are the ones who are untrustworthy because, unlike Smollett, they have had a "shifting" story.
Butler gave his flaky analysis twice on Sunday -- appearing once on Up with David Gura, and again later on MSNBC Live with Ayman Mohyeldin.
Shortly after 9:00 a.m., after Gura asked for his reaction, Butler began: "So Jussie's story has been consistent from the beginning. It's the police who have shifting accounts. On Friday, they said that they had probable cause to believe that these two men had committed the crime, and now apparently they don't."
He continued: "I think we are probably never going to know exactly what happened, which makes this more like other cases."
After recalling that law enforcement fails to solve most crimes, he pivoted to encouraging audience members to trust people who claim to be victims, and recalled FBI reports that hate crimes have increased in recent years.
As Butler appeared again later in the day, he gave similar analysis: "For the record, Jussie Smollett -- his statement stayed the same, so he has been consistent, so it's really the police department that has had shifting versions of what they think happened."