UPDATE, 1:23 PM: There’s the Chicago way and there’s the Chicago way and the Windy City isn’t the least blown over by the newly offense legal strategy by Jussie Smollett.
“The City stands by its original complaint and will continue to pursue this litigation,” Chicago Department of Law spokesperson Bill McCaffrey told Deadline of the countersuit filed by the now fired Empire star over the city’s lawsuit looking for compensation for the costs into investigation Smollett’s now seemingly phony assault claims of earlier this year. “The judge in this case has already ruled in our favor once and we fully expect to be successful in defeating these counterclaims,” the Chicago official added of the wide spread damages and jury trial paperwork that attorneys for Smollett put in the federal docket last night
The city of Chicago, the top cop at the Chicago Police Department, some detectives and more are named as defendants in Smollett’s new case.
PREVIOUSLY, 8:11 AM: Almost a year after Jussie Smollett claimed he was violently attacked on the cold streets of Chicago, the former Empire star has hit back at the Windy City and its police department.
“Despite the dismissal of all charges against Mr. Smollett, the CPD’s prosecution of Mr. Smollett based on the Osundairo Brothers’ false statements about the attack has caused Mr. Smollett to be the subject of mass public ridicule and harm to him personally,” states a response and counterclaim suit filed last night by the actor’s attorneys against the once Rahm Emanuel-ruled metropolis’ attempt to have Smollett pay up hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Chicago Police’s time and effort investigating the January 29 alleged assault.
“Aside from the substantial reputational harm the Osundairo Brothers’ false statements have caused him, Mr. Smollett has also suffered and continues to suffer substantial economic losses, including but not limited to lost employment opportunities and mounting legal fees, as well as severe mental anguish and distress,” the jury trial demanding document asserts (read it here). “Mr. Smollett must also defend against the instant case by the City for investigative costs in a case in which he was the victim of a crime,” the 48-page malicious prosecution filing adds, with the now Lori Lightfoot-run Chicago, CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson, some detectives and brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo, who have testified that Smollett orchestrated their attack of him earlier this year.
Facing a court ordered special prosecutor in the criminal case and a constant dribble of documents from the police probe, Smollett was slammed by the city in April over the $130,000 cost of the case. The law actually allows Chicago to seek a re-payment of three times the estimated costs – about $390,318. However, in their latest filing, the city’s lawyers stated they want a “double recovery,” or just more than $260,000 – money Smollett may not have.
Having come up short last month at getting the city’s case tossed out, Smollett is now seeking that Chicago should be “denied its requested relief” and he should be awarded unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.” The city of Chicago and the CPD did not respond to requests from Deadline over the latest move in what has become an increasingly convoluted case all round.
Initially treated as a potential hate crime by Chicago cops and garnering sympathy from Donald Trump, the Empire cast and creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, and many more, the tide turned against Smollett as “persons of interest” the Osundairo brothers claimed that it was the actor who was the mastermind of the January attack.
In the spring, criminal charges were laid against Smollett, who has always maintained his innocence. If Smollett had been convicted on all 16 counts, he could have faced nearly 50 years in state prison. However, the case was suddenly dropped and sealed in late March upon request from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office with a $10,000 payment and some community service credit – which really pissed off then Mayor Emanuel and top cop Johnson and led to the city’s initial suit.
Amid the controversy surrounding the attack and the aftermath, Smollett was booted out from shooting the final episodes of Season 5 of Empire earlier this year. The return of the Fox hip hop drama for its sixth and final season this fall saw Smollett written out of the show, despite pleas for his re-instatement by Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson and other leading cast members.