Jussie Smollett's Attorney Claims The Actor Is The Victim Of A 'Media Gangbang'

Smollett's attorney Mark Geragos Calls calls the 16 felony counts against the "Empire" actor outrageous and criticizes police for "false" leaks to the media.

By Jill Sederstrom

Jussie Smollett’s attorney calls the new charges against him outrageous and claims the “Empire” star has been the victim of a “media gangbang.”

Mark Geragos spoke with Anderson Cooper on CNN after a grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 felony counts, nearly two months after Smollett claimed he he'd been the victim of a hate crime attack in Chicago.

“What is happening here is, frankly, a media gangbang of this guy of unprecedented proportions,” Geragos said. “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 he’s guilty.”

Geragos claims his client is a “victim of a hate crime” who has been unfairly targeted.

Chicago Police have strongly refuted that claim, alleging that Smollett staged the racist and homophobic attack because he was unhappy with the salary he was receiving on the popular television show.

But Geragos criticized the police department, claiming they leaked “false” information to the media and never spoke with anyone at 20th Century Fox or “Empire” about the alleged salary frustrations.

Jussie Smollett

Initially, Smollett had been charged with one count of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about the incident, but it was announced Friday that a grand jury had ultimately indicted him on 16 counts of disorderly conduct.

The number of counts against him correspond to the number of false claims Smollett allegedly made to police.

“[The grand jury] decided he told multiple lies,” legal analyst Irv Miller told WBBM-TV. “They were going to charge him for each.”

The actor, 36, is slated to appear in the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Thursday to enter a plea to the counts against him.

Smollett, who is black and gay, told police he had been attacked Jan. 29 around 2 a.m. as he walked home from a Subway sandwich shop. He claimed two men yelled racial and homophobic slurs before beating him, wrapping a noose around his neck and pouring a chemical on him.

Two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, who were allegedly involved in the incident, would later tell police Smollett hired them to stage the attack.

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