Chicago is suing actor Jussie Smollett for the costs of investigating his claims that he was the victim of a hate crime.
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. The city had imposed a deadline for that payment on Smollett, who continues to maintain his innocence.
The $130,106 represents the alleged costs of police overtime hours investigating the case. The civil court case will seek to prove that Smollett faked the hate crime incident, thus tying up substantial police resources. Smollett claimed two attackers pummeled him, shouted racist and homophobic remarks, and put a noose around his head. Police later found that the incident was staged by Smollett and two friends.
Smollett’s lawyer sent a letter to the city last week and said his client “will not be intimidated” into paying. Smollett never pleaded guilty, and some think that paying the amount would be tantamount to an admission of guilt.
“The City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department take seriously those who make false statements to the police, thereby diverting resources from other investigations and undermining the criminal justice system,” said the letter to Smollett signed by Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel.
Attorney Mark Geragos responded: “Mr. Smollett’s preference remains, however, that this matter be closed and that he be allowed to move on with his life.”
Smollett agreed to perform two days of community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the city of Chicago in exchange for charges being dropped. The move outraged city officials and police.