Chicago Suing Jussie Smollett for Cost of Investigation


The March 28 letter said, if Smollett does not pay within seven days, the city could prosecute him for making a false statement, and take him to civil court to seek up to three times that amount as damages, plus court costs and attorney's fees.

After discovering that the State's Attorney meant to drop the charges, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel suggested that Smollett could reimburse the city for costs associated with investigating the "hate crime", and later, the city's Law Department issued an official request for just over $130,000.

The 12-page civil lawsuit, filed in Cook County court, is the latest volley in a legal battle that shows no signs of abating since Smollett reported that masked men beat him up on January 29 in Chicago, shouting slurs and wrapping a rope around his neck.

Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson had said they not only were furious with the outcome of the surprise March 26 hearing, but also were blindsided by the decision itself, with the officials learning that Smollett wouldn't face charges for allegedly faking a hate crime at the same time the public found out. After threatening legal action against Smollett last week, they are moving forward with their lawsuit against the actor.

Smollett's lawyer sent a letter to the city last week and said his client "will not be intimidated" into paying.

Chicago's Department of Law noted in the suit that over two dozen police officers and detectives spent weeks working in Smollett's case, resulting in 1,836 overtime hours.

An earlier statement issued by the city's Law Department had vowed that the lawsuit against Smollett would pursue "the full measure of damages" allowed by municipal law. The Empire actor was indicted after police said that they believe Smollett staged the attack on himself.

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".

"It is the mayor and the police chief who owe Jussie - owe him an apology - for dragging an innocent man's character through the mud", the statement read.

The Law Department pulled no punches in their complaint, alleging that the "Defendant knew his attackers and orchestrated the purported attack himself". The city had imposed a deadline for that payment on Smollett, who continues to maintain his innocence.

Evidence sealed in the criminal case could be unsealed in the civil case and be presented at trial.