Smollett under arrest; what kind of trial does his new lawyer, PR expert Mark Geragos, plan?

Now that Jussie Smollett has been arrested, the possibility of a court proceeding where his team tries to put President Trump "on trial" — on the model of the infamous  Chicago 7 trial — cannot be dismissed.

The Chicago Police Department officially announced the arrest of Jussie Smollett at 3:27 AM local time — in time for the news to make the morning television shows, but too late for most morning editions of newspapers.  According to two tweets from CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, a surrender was negotiated with his legal team (a courtesy that was not extended to Roger Stone by federal authorities):

The latest public statement from his lawyers Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson seems to indicate he plans to plead not guilty:

Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked.  Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.

Pugh and Henderson elaborated:

"Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense," the Chicago-based lawyers added, with no mention of Mark Geragos as a newly minted member of the defense team.

The addition of Geragos, a media-savvy veteran of many high-profile cases, to the legal team suggests that what might be termed a "political trial" is being vetted, directing pubic ire away from the defendants and onto the purported injustices suffered by the defendant at the hands of the powerful.  Many well publicized trials of leftists in the past have attempted to put the authorities on trial, with the modern template being the Chicago 7 trial of prominent leftists charged with conspiracy to riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Maybe it is entirely coincidental that on Tuesday we learned:

Following a strong response from buyers, Aaron Sorkin's starry drama The Trial Of The Chicago 7 is now being fast-tracked for an early summer start after pre-production was put on pause last December.

The movie project involves some big names in addition to Sorkin:

The cast in Trial of the Chicago 7 includes Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman, Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden, and Jonathan Majors as Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale.  Deadline heard that the production had been courting numerous other big stars, including Michael Keaton, who[m] Sorkin was coveting for the role of William Kunstler.

Sorkin's Chicago 7, which Sorkin was also writing in addition to directing, centered around the infamous 1969 trial of seven defendants charged by the federal government with conspiracy and more, arising from the counterculture protests in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.  The trial transfixed the nation and sparked a conversation about mayhem intended to undermine the U.S. government.  Marc Platt is also producing.

Amblin had been trying to make Trial of Chicago 7 for more than ten years with such filmmakers as Steven Spielberg and Paul Greengrass.  Baron Cohen was always a top choice for Spielberg to play Yippie co-founder and Steal This Book author Hoffman.  We hear the project means a lot to Sorkin and he's trying to figure out his schedule so he can direct.

Ten years in the planning, and precisely as Jussie Smollett's trial is in prospect, it suddenly gets the green light.

Keep in mind that the jurors who might eventually decide the case if it goes to trial will be drawn from a jury pool that is overwhelmingly Democrat and anti-Trump.  Donald Trump won only 12.5% of the vote in Chicago in 2016, which is one of the first reasons to doubt Smollett's claim that his attackers shouted, "This is MAGA country!"

A Chicago 7-like trial might become a major feature of the 2020 presidential campaign.

Of course, a federal grand jury reportedly is considering charges for the threat letter sent to Fox.  The spectacle could be a long one, with both a state and a federal trial.

Incidentally, skeptics want to know who is paying for Smollett's legal team.  While a successful actor, he reportedly has a net worth of about half a million dollars, which does not go very far when your legal team has multiple expensive lawyers with their meters ticking.

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