Celebrity lawyer and former CNN analyst Mark Geragos took to Twitter Tuesday to celebrate what he portrayed as a full exoneration of one of his long list of celebrity clients, Jussie Smollett, after the Chicago state’s attorney’s office stunningly dropped all felony charges against the actor for allegedly orchestrating a hoax hate crime against himself.
“Today, all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett were dismissed by the Prosecution,” Geragos tweeted Tuesday. “Jussie’s record has been wiped clean. Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify. He was a victim and was victimized again in a rush to judgment. Apologies accepted.”
Geragos’ claim that Smollett was “victimized” by a “rush to judgment” is a slap in the face to the Chicago Police Department, which dedicated extensive resources to amassing evidence detailing Smollett’s alleged “orchestration” of a “hate crime hoax,” evidence which Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson laid out in a blistering press conference last month.
“I am left hanging my head asking ‘why?’” said Johnson when he revealed the charges against Smollett in late February. “Why would anyone — especially an African American man — use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusation? Bogus police reports cause real harm. They do harm to every legitimate victim who is in need of support by police and investigators as well as the citizens of this city.”
A day before spiking the football over his client getting off the hook, Geragos’ name was in the news for an entirely different high-profile case — and one in which he has been implicated. According to multiple reports, Geragos is the unnamed co-conspirator in a federal case against his fellow celebrity lawyer Michel Avenatti, the former lawyer of porn star and Trump accuser Stormy Daniels.
In a complaint submitted to the Southern District of New York, FBI Special Agent Christopher Harper alleges that in March 2019, Avenatti and an unnamed co-conspirator (“CC-1,” allegedly Geragos) “devised a scheme to extort a company by means of an interstate communication by threatening to damage the company’s reputation if the company did not agree to make multi-million dollar payments to Avenatti and CC-1, and further agree to pay $1.5 million to a client of Avenatti’s.” (Read more about the case here.)
On Tuesday, the office of controversial prosecutor Kim Foxx announced without any prior warning to the Chicago Police Department or the mayor that they had dropped all charges against Smollett and sealed all files. “After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollet’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution,” Foxx’s office said.
In clarifications to the press after massive blowback over the decision, First Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Magats made clear that “we didn’t exonerate him,” telling the Chicago Tribune, “It’s a mistake and it’s wrong to read into the decision that there was something wrong or that we learned something about the case that we didn’t already know.”
Despite believing the findings of the police investigation were sound and Smollett was guilty, Foxx’s office dropped the charges anyhow, accepting his mere $10,000 bond and some past community service as punishment enough.
Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Superintendent Johnson disagreed vehemently. “This is a whitewash of justice,” Emanuel said in a joint press conference Tuesday. “Where is the accountability in the system? You cannot have, because of a person’s position, one set of rules apply to them and another set of rules apply to everybody else.”