Culture&Arts

Chicago Sues Jussie Smollett to Recoup Cost of Hate Crime Probe

Chicago Sues Jussie Smollett to Recoup Cost of Hate Crime Probe

Despite his 16 felony counts being dropped in a controversial decision by Cook County prosecutors, outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration filed a suit in Circuit Court asking for $130,106.

"This follows his refusal to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on January 29, 2019", the statement added.

The "Empire" actor has been accused of orchestrating the January 29 assault, during which he claims two men yelled racial and homophobic slurs while beating him, pouring an unknown chemical substance on him and wrapping a rope around his neck. After threatening legal action against Smollett last week, they are moving forward with their lawsuit against the actor.

Representatives for Smollett, who has been written out of the last two episodes of "Empire's" current season, declined to comment on the city's lawsuit.

After weeks of investigation, Chicago police determined that Smollett cooked up the scheme - in which they allege he hired two brothers to pose as his attackers - because he was dissatisfied with his salary on "Empire". Geragos, who in the past has represented celebrities such as Michael Jackson, previously said Smollett "will not be intimidated into paying the demanded sum".

While prosecutors would have had to prove Smollett's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal court, the bar is lower is civil litigation.

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While Smollett appears to be putting on a fearless face, legal expert Karen Conti said Chicago's lawsuit could turn into the actor's "worst nightmare".

The complaint further alleged, "that same day, January 25, 2019, Global Positioning System records and video evidence indicate that [the] Defendant [Smollett] drove Abel from Empire's Cinespace Studio to Abel's apartment", and that "during the ride, [Smollett] stated that he was unhappy with the way his employers handled a racist and homophobic letter he had allegedly received three days earlier, and, as a result, he wanted to stage an attack where Abel would appear to batter him".

In dismissing the case, prosecutors said they had cut a deal with the actor to perform two days of community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the city of Chicago.

"It is the Mayor and the Police Chief who owe Jussie.an apology - for dragging an innocent man's character through the mud", their statement said.

"Defendants knew his attackers and orchestrated the purported attack himself", the filing claimed.

When the City originally requested the payment, they demanded "immediate payment" within seven days, and said at the time that if the 36-year-old actor didn't hand over the cash, the Corporation Counsel would "prosecute you for making a false statement under the Municipal Code of Chicago".


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