Jussie Smollett has hired high-powered criminal defense lawyer Mark Geragos to represent him against the 16 felony charges he is facing in Chicago following his alleged orchestration of a staged homophobic and racist attack.
Here is everything you need to know about Geragos and his past trials:
Mark Geragos was hired to defend Chris Brown in the 2009 high-profile assault case brought forth by his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. Geragos was able to reduce the original felony charges in a plea deal agreement, through which the “Kiss Kiss” singer served only five years probation.
Geragos continued to defend Brown in other trials, including publicly representing him following a club brawl with Drake, NBA star Tony Parker and other members of the trios’ posse. Most recently, he has defended the R&B singer following a rape accusation that detained him in Paris. (No charges were filed against Brown.)
Speaking to RumorFix about Brown, Geragos expressed his support for his client. “I consider him as a son, I really do,” the defense attorney said. “I could not be more proud of him.”
Geragos was hired in 2003 by the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Jackson, then 45, was indicted on several charges of child molestation in November 2003. In 2005, a jury found the “Bad Singer” not guilty on all charges.
Of course, the accusations have been resurfaced in Leaving Neverland. Dan Reed’s three-part docuseries addresses several of the allegations of child abuse and molestation against Jackson over the years, told from the perspective of accusers Wade Robson and James Safechuck.
Scott Peterson, now 46, hired Mark Geragos to defend after being charged with murdering his wife, Laci Peterson, 27, and their unborn son on Dec. 24, 2002. In what became one of the most shocking trials in recent memory, the Peterson case captivated the nation and became the subject of the A&E show, The Murder of Laci Peterson.
Although Geragos was able to dismiss several key pieces of evidence, he was unable to get Peterson acquitted. The defendant was convicted of first-degree murder in Laci’s death and second-degree murder for Conner’s death.
Jussie Smollett, 36, recently hired Geragos to defend him in the ongoing Chicago case which contends that Smollett faked a hate crime.
The Empire actor is facing 16 felony charges for his role, and reportedly paid a total of $8,000 for the men to attack him, using racial and homophobic slurs, placing a noose around him, and dousing him in bleach.
Currently, Smollett is released on $100,000 bail, and has pled not guilty to all charges.