Jussie Smollett’s celebrity lawyer, Mark Geragos, said Thursday that he fully supports a federal investigation into his client’s case, as the city of Chicago demanded the Empire actor fork over $130,000 to cover the costs of the hate-crime probe.
The developments come after Cook County prosecutors, in a surprise reversal, dropped all charges against Smollett, who was accused of orchestrating a homophobic and racially motived attack against himself.
“I would like an investigation into why they filed this case in the first place,” Geragos insisted Thursday. “Why they had no corroboration in this case for what was said. And why it was that they indicted.”
Geragos, who faces his own legal problems in an unrelated case, said he woke up to Trump’s Thursday morning tweet calling for the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate Smollett’s case. “I would amplify that,” he said.
Smollett alleged that during the Jan. 29 attack, two men in ski masks tried to tie a rope around his neck and poured a chemical substance on him as he walked home from a Subway sandwich shop. During the attack, Smollett alleged the men called him several homophobic and racist slurs, before shouting: “This is MAGA country.”
Police accused the actor of faking the attack and filing a false report in order to promote his career—and a grand jury ultimately indicted Smollett on 16 counts of disorderly conduct. But those charges were dropped on Tuesday, with the State’s Attorney’s Office saying in a statement that the decision was made after reviewing the actor’s “previous community service” and in light of his “agreement to forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago.”
The move, according to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was not aware of the decision until it was reported on the news, was “a whitewash of justice.”
Speaking to reporters, Geragos accused Emanuel of “defaming” Smollett.
“If they want to do an investigation, I welcome it, because I think what they are going to find out, there was a lot more nefarious things going on here,” Geragos said Thursday, suggesting the investigation was done in the backdrop of a mayoral race that would determine the fate of the current police chief. “I think you will find at the end of the day, that the idea that Rahm Emanuel is out there defaming my client and acting, literally unhinged.”
He added: “I don’t want to cast dispersions on Rahm, but there’s an old expression that it’s sometimes better to stay quiet and he should have stayed and I’ll leave it at that.”
On Thursday, the city of Chicago demanded Smollett pay $130,000 for the cost of the hate-crime probe, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. In a letter to Smollett’s lawyers, the Chicago Corporation Counsel alleged Smollett’s bond money was not enough to cover the “total cost of the overtime the Chicago Police logged” during the high-profile investigation.
“The police are assembling the cost [of the investigation],” Emanuel told reporters on Thursday after announcing plans to bill the actor, according to NBC New York. “[G]iven that he doesn’t feel any sense of contrition and remorse, my recommendation is when he writes the check, in the memo section he can put the word, I’m ‘accountable’ for the hoax.”
In response to Emanuel’s remarks, the actor’s legal team said he does not need to apologize since he is an “innocent man.”
“It is the Mayor and the Police Chief who owe Jussie—owe him an apology—for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud,” they wrote in a statement. “Jussie has paid enough.”