Jussie Smollett has been indicted 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.by a grand jury. Now, the actor’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, is speaking out.
While talking to Anderson Cooper’s CNN, Geragos said, “What is happening here is frankly a media gangbang of this guy of unprecedented proportions. And that’s the reason I got into this. I’ve never seen a media pendulum swing more quickly and viciously and rob somebody of their presumption of innocence like this case. It’s startling the way people assume that he’s guilty.”
He continued, calling out the Chicago Police Department, “He hasn’t been given one stitch of discovery. There isn’t one police report. Your package just said he paid $3,500. I’ve got the texts. Those texts––and they conceded that the check and the texts were for training. It wasn’t to pay anything. So I don’t understand how it comes from.”
He also challenged the idea that Smollett did this because he wanted a higher salary at “Empire,”: “They have not talked to one person at Fox who has said he was dissatisfied with his money. They have not interviewed one person connected with the show ‘Empire; who says he was dissatisfied with his money. They are the ones that started their internal investigation about the leaks because all of the information that was being leaked was false.” He also accuses Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson of tainting the jury pool.
Watch Geragos below:
On Jan. 29, while walking to a subway, Smollett claimed two men yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, investigators told The Hollywood Reporter. They allegedly punched and poured bleach on him while one of the suspects put a rope around his neck. As they fled the scene, Smollett told police they said, “This is MAGA country.”
The Chicago Police Department claimed the Nigerian-American brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo told them the attack was orchestrated by the “Empire” actor and that they were paid $3,500. However, TMZ reported the FBI said the Chicago Police were “overstating” and “went too far” when they said Jussie sent a hateful Jan. 22 letter to himself.
TMZ also reported, “We’re told authorities are trying to determine if the pages have the lettering found in the letter. They’re also checking the postage stamp against the stamps found in the brothers’ apartment.” The Nigerian brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, denied sending the letter.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson may have also gone too far when he said Jussie paid the brothers $3,500 to stage the attack. TMZ reports they “obtained documents that on the surface back his claim the $3,500 check he wrote to Abel was for training. The check was written to Abel on January 23, 2019, six days before the ‘attack.’ The memo line reads, ‘5 week Nutrition/Workout program Don’t Go.'” “Don’t Go” is a song for a music video where he would appear shirtless.
Geragos has represented Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder and Chris Brown.