For several weeks now, the strange saga of Jussie Smollett has dominated headlines and heated social media discussions.
In case you somehow missed the story, here’s a brief recap:
Smollett claimed that he was attacked by two white men while walking home from a Subway restaurant around 2 am.
Despite frigid, polar vortex weather, Smollett stated that the two men had staked him out and recognized him from his role on TV’s Empire.
He added that they came equipped with a bottle of bleach that they dumped over his head and a length of clothesline that they wrapped around his neck in an act mock lynching.
Smollett claimed that the men used several racist and homophobic slurs and screamed at him, "This is MAGA country!"
Many found the actor’s version of events suspicious from the start, but Smollett quickly gained the support of numerous celebrities and politicians, including presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.
Over the course of the past week, however, Smollett’s story began to unravel.
Currently, Chicago police are investigating the possibility that Smollett staged the attack with the help of two Nigerian who briefly worked as extras on Empire.
His case is set to go before a grand jury as early this week.
If convicted of a felony for filing a false police report, Smollett faces several years behind bars.
So it should come as no surprise that he’s lawyering up — or that he’s reportedly hired one of the most famous defense attorneys in the country.
According to TMZ, Smollett has hired Mark Geragos to represent him in court.
Neither Smollett nor Geragos has officially announced that decision, but the attorney has spoken out on Jussie’s behalf on several occasions, most recently on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show:
"Any time you start to get law enforcement drip, drip, drip leaks that, to me, is a telltale sign that something else is going on," Geragos told the host.
Geragos went on to express his doubts that it would have been possible for police to track down Smollett’s alleged co-conspirators via the "grainy footage" that was presented to them.
He credits Smollett’s cooperation with the arrest of the brothers, and states — in somewhat contradictory fashion — that they were only taken into custody due to public "pressure" to make an arrest.
"I haven’t seen anything but leaks from law enforcement sources," Geragos added.
"To me, that screams out that someone is trying to manipulate something."
No doubt by this time, many on both sides of the aisle would prefer for this ugly story to disappear from the headlines.
But as Geragos and Smollett gear up for an epic legal battle, we’re reminded that this saga is just getting started.