Defense Attorney: Jussie Smollett a Victim of a ‘Media Gangbang’

JUSTIN CARUSO

Jussie Smollett’s defense attorney Mark Geragos appeared on CNN Friday and declared on air that Smollett is the victim of a “media gangbang.”

“You know, Anderson, even if [Smollett] were supposedly the one who had orchestrated this, this is an outrage. The fact that he maintains his innocence makes it more outrageous,” Geragos told Anderson Cooper.

“16 counts? I defy anybody to find any indictment, anywhere, where somebody has brought 16 counts for being a victim of a–of a hate crime, basically.”

The attorney also said that the media has swung so far against Smollett that it’s “startling.”

“What is happening here is frankly, a media gangbang of this guy of unprecedented proportions. That’s the reason I got into this,” he said. “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 he’s guilty.”

“He hasn’t been given one stitch of discovery. Not one. There isn’t one police report. Your package just said he paid $3,500. I have the text, those texts, and they conceded that the check and the texts were for training. It wasn’t to pay anything.”

Geragos also said Friday that the charges against him are “vindictive.”

The 16-county grand jury indictment of Empire actor Jussie Smollett relates to allegations that he lied to police about a reported attack in January — eight counts for what he told a police officer and eight more for what he told a detective.

In the indictment filed Thursday, the Cook County grand jury makes it clear that Smollett added details to his account of what happened Jan. 29 when he talked to the detective. He gave a basic version to the police officer that included allegations that he was beaten by two masked men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him. The indictment says that when he talked to the detective, Smollett said he could see from the skin around one of the attacker’s eyes through the mask that he was white. He also said that the attackers looped a rope around his neck.

When Smollett was charged with a single count of disorderly conduct on Feb. 20, police noted that Smollett had said the attackers were white. Police say that in fact, the two men who have admitted taking part in the staged attack are both black.

Smollett has denied that he staged the attack.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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