Anderson Cooper spoke with Jussie Smollett’s attorney Mark Geragos about the 16-count felony indictment against the Empire actor for staging a hate crime. Smollett will appear in court on March 14 where he will enter a plea and a judge will be assigned to the case.
Said Geragos: “This is an outrage….I defy anybody to find any indictment anywhere where somebody has brought 16 counts for being a victim of a hate crime, basically.”
“They have not talked to one person at Fox who has said he was dissatisfied with his money,” Geragos continued. “They have not interviewed one person connected with the show Empire who says he was dissatisfied with his money. They are the ones who started their internal investigation about the leaks because all of the information that was being leaked was false.”
Added Geragos: “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 more viciously and rob somebody of their presumption of innocence like this case. It’s startling the way people assume that he’s guilty. 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 where any of this comes from.”
Anderson then asked why the brothers would do such a thing: “Doesn’t it just seem weird to you that you get allegedly attacked by two people who you know and you don’t seem to recognize them, even you claimed you fought back and they ran away, and — I believe initially Mr. Smollett said one of them was white, or they were white — Isn’t it just weird that you get allegedly attacked by two people you actually know that have been on Empire that, who you have actually worked out with, and you don’t recognize them?”
“Yes,” replied Geragos. “I don’t know whether he made that statement but what I do know is that when he was told that they had evidence against these two he refused to sign the complaint because he could not believe it.”
Added Geragos: “I haven’t seen one piece of evidence and they don’t have one piece of evidence that they’ve turned over that links Jussie to this. What they do have is a great case against the two brothers….What do they have besides their word that he is in on this.”