Candace Owens calls Carlee Russell “10x worse than” Jussie Smollett


Conservative commentator Candace Owens said that Carlee Russell—the Alabama woman who was declared missing last week—”traumatized an entire nation” with her account of getting abducted.

Owens’ comments follow an update from the Hoover Police Department on the investigation into the disappearance of Russell, who returned home two days after she was declared missing last Thursday. Russell and her family have claimed that she was kidnapped after exiting her vehicle on the side of Interstate 459 in Hoover, Alabama, to follow an unattended toddler, which she had reported to 911 shortly before she was considered missing.

But during a press conference Wednesday, Hoover Police Chief Nicholas Derzi raised several red flags regarding Russell’s account, and said that police could not yet verify Russell’s story. Police also said that Russell had made several internet searches related to Amber Alerts, among other topics, in the hours leading up to her disappearance.

Candace Owens:Carlee Russell '10x Worse ThanJussie Smollet'
Candace Owens is seen on the set of “Candace” on April 19, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee. Owens bashed Carlee Russell for “traumatizing an entire nation” after Alabama police were unable to confirm Russell’s account that she was abducted last week.
Jason Davis/Getty

Owens spoke about Russell’s mysterious case on her podcast Wednesday night, and said she believes that Russell “should spend some time in prison” for making a false report to the police.

“Because when you make false police reports, especially ones that become nationwide … And it required people that were outside looking for her,” Owens said. “It was a community effort trying to find her, people were scared. I mean, she traumatized an entire nation with this story.”

Owens also compared Russell’s case to the story of actor Jussie Smollett, who was convicted of making a false police report in 2019 after hiring two men to stage a hate crime against him.

“I didn’t expect [Russell’s] story to be this bad,” Owens continued. “I didn’t expect it to meet the level of Jussie Smollett absurdity … I thought she was a Jussie Smollett, maybe 2.0. No, this girl took Jussie Smollett to the max.”

In a tweet prior to her podcast live stream, Owens also called Russell’s story “10x worse than” Smollett’s.

Police did not indicate on Wednesday if they intend to bring charges against Russell for potentially filing a false police report, but legal analysts have also predicted that charges could be imminent following the latest updates.

NewsNation contributor and former FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer tweeted following the police’s press briefing that the story of Russell “is a tragedy … A tragedy for all who go missing and for all who are abducted and for all who have suffered and will suffer … “

“Again, prayers were answered: she is OK, but the repercussions for her actions are coming; make no mistake,” Coffindaffer wrote.

Former Alabama criminal defense lawyer Erin Guster, who has been following Russell’s case through Facebook Live videos, said that he also expects police “to bring a tsunami of charges.”

“I expect them to likely have all the videos and show all of her movements and how she made this up, to let the world know that Hoover is a safe place,” Guster added.

Captain Keith Czeskleba, public information officer for Hoover police, told Newsweek via email Wednesday night that the department is not finished with the investigation, and that charges against Russell have “not been determined yet but it is certainly a possibility.”

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