Jussie Smollett is looking for legal representation before his case goes to the grand jury next week.
On Tuesday (Feb. 19), TMZ reported Mark Geragos may join Smollett's legal team as new evidence suggest he played a role in orchestrating his own hate crime last month. Geragos famously represented Chris Brown during his domestic violence case with Rihanna in 2009.
Geragos made an appearance on Anderson Cooper's CNN show on Monday (Feb. 18) and defended the "Empire" actor. "If it's not a hoax, it hurts him," Geragos said in response to rumors that Smollett fabricated his version of events. "If he's a victim, he's being revictimized."
Smollett originally told Chicago police that he went out for food late at night on Jan. 29 and was approached by two men wearing black ski masks. The men allegedly shouted homophobic and racial epithets at him before striking him, tying a rope around his neck and pouring bleach on him. Smollett told ABC's Robin Roberts he fought back and his attackers ran off.
Several leaks from "sources" within the Chicago Police Department claim evidence shows Smollett paid two Nigerian men, who were previously extras on "Empire," $3,500 to attack him because he was worried his character would be written off the show.
Geragos believes the constant leaks about the investigation should raise eyebrows within the department, not toward Smollett. "Anytime you start to get law enforcement leaks, that to me is a telltale sign that something else is going on here." Geragos continued, "I haven't seen anything except leaks according to law enforcement sources. To me, that screams out somebody who's trying to manipulate something."
Although not officially hired yet, one could argue Geragos did a convincing job at breaking down the biggest issues with the case so far, including the false report that Smollett was being written out of "Empire." The defense attorney also noted Smollett recently embarked on a successful tour which doesn't fit rumors about him making up a hate crime to get extra publicity.
"My skepticism is with all of the law enforcement leaks, Geragos said. "I think that there's something else going on here."