Jussie Smollett’s lawyer, the ever pugnacious Mark Geragos, had a message to the city of Chicago on Friday: Bring. It. On.
Firing back at Chicago’s vow to pursue the “Empire” star in court to force him to pay a fine of up to $390,000 for police overtime in the investigation of his now-dismissed hate-crime case, Geragos told the city to go jump in Lake Michigan.
In the process, he charged the city’s stance is “unconstitutional,” “malicious,” “false and defamatory,” harassment and a violation of “double jeopardy” bans. Geragos strongly hinted if the city sues Smollett, Smollett will respond in kind.
“Your letter constitutes part of a course of conduct intended to harass and irreparably injure Mr. Smollett,” Geragos declared in a missive sent to Edward Siskel, head of the city’s law department, which released a copy to the media on Friday.
“As explained below, your letter is both factually and legally flawed and Mr. Smollett will not be intimidated into paying the demanded sum.”
What’s more, Geragos wrote, if the city continues to pursue Smollett, his legal team promises to make things uncomfortable as possible for city officials, including outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, plus the two brothers who attacked Smollett (they claim because he paid them to stage a hoax attack), and their lawyers.
In the event of a lawsuit, Geragos said he would demand the release of the entire police investigative file on the case, both to Smollett and to the public, and would seek to depose Emanuel, Johnson and the others under oath.
“Mr. Smollett’s preference remains, however, that this matter be closed and that he be allowed to move on with his life,” Geragos concluded.
The upshot is the Smollett scandal that has gripped Chicago for the last three months isn’t over, not by a long shot.
And if this latest display of legal chest thumping actually does end up in a civil suit, complete with a trial of some sort, maybe the citizens of the Windy City will finally get to learn what actually happened on Jan. 29, when Smollett claimed he was attacked by two men who shouted homophobic and racist slurs, beat him, threw bleach on him, dangled a noose around his neck and declared “This is MAGA country!”
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SOURCE: USA Today, by Maria Puente