MSNBC star Joy Reid claims hackers are responsible for homophobic slurs that were recently unearthed on her pre-fame blog, but many people don’t believe her story. Now that the FBI is involved, Reid could be in legal trouble if her doubters are proven correct.
Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said the MSNBC host “could be in very serious trouble” if she made up the story about hackers planting the anti-gay blog posts. Reid could even be charged with obstruction of justice for “diverting the FBI’s attention from real crimefighting to fighting a phantom crime,” Napolitano said.
Despite admitting to making homophobic slurs in the past, Reid blamed hackers on Monday when Mediaite unearthed a new batch of damaging posts on Reid’s now-defunct blog. Her story was met with widespread skepticism and Fox News host Tucker Carlson even called Reid’s version of events “ludicrous fantasies,” while others have pointed to the Library of Congress archives to debunk her claim. While MSNBC has stayed silent, Reid’s attorney issued a statement claiming the FBI is now involved.
“We have received confirmation the FBI has opened an investigation into potential criminal activities surrounding several online accounts, including personal email and blog accounts, belonging to Joy-Ann Reid,” Reid’s attorney, John H. Reichman, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday.
Judge Napolitano explained that a key element of the situation – if Reid is proven to have fabricated the hacker story -- is “who sent the FBI on a wild goose chase,” as it would take a formal complaint filed by Reid or a lawyer on behalf of the liberal pundit to be held accountable. He said that if Reid’s legal team filed a formal complaint “knowing that the events about which she complained were caused by herself, that’s a felony.”
Reichman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reid previously told Mediaite that her team “notified federal law enforcement officials of the breach.”
As for whether or not charges would be pressed against Reid depends on “the resources they expended” investigating a fictitious claim, Napolitano said.
“Theoretically, she’d be facing five years in jail,” Napolitano said. “Yes, she could be indicted and prosecuted… if they wanted to do so.”
Napolitano said that sometimes they “want to send a message,” but other times it’s not worth the effort to prosecute such crimes as the FBI has “more important things to do.” Napolitano also indicated that if she made the story up and loses her job at MSNBC over it, the FBI could determine that being terminated is enough punishment for the “AM Joy” host.
Reid apologized last December when the old blog posts surfaced and were published by Mediaite. The decade-old blog targeted former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who Reid mocked as “Miss Charlie,” alluding to him being gay and closeted, even though there is no proof to back her claims. The posts fanned rumors of Crist’s sexual orientation and his political opponents tried to tar him with the gossip during his governorship — when he was a Republican. The posts were written at the time when Crist was a conservative Republican. Back in 2012, Crist joined the Democratic Party and endorsed Barack Obama for re-election.
Reid, a key member of the #Resistance movement, denied writing the newly unearthed batch of homophobic slurs, which include shots at her current colleague Rachel Maddow, who is MSNBC’s biggest star and cash cow.
MSNBC did not respond to multiple requests for comment.