Jussie Smollett Sued By Chicago For Alleged Hate Hoax Investigation Costs

Carla Harmon
April 12, 2019

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 Cook County State's Attorney's office dropped 17 charges against Smollett stemming from the January 29, 2019 incident, in which Smollett says he was attacked by two Donald Trump supporters on his way home from getting a sandwich at a nearby Subway sandwich shop around 2 a.m.

Smollett's attorneys framed the sudden about-face as vindication for the actor, though Joseph Magats, Foxx's top deputy, said the dropped charges "should not be viewed as some kind of admission there was something wrong with the case, or something wrong with the investigation that the Chicago police did".

Smollett's legal team responded to the letter last week, saying Smollett will not pay the $130,000 for the cost of the investigation as it is "unconstitutional". Last week, Smollett's attorney, Mark Geragos, accused the city of trying to harass and intimidate his client.

Smollett's attorney refused to comment on the lawsuit.

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.

The upcoming battle in civil court promises in many ways to mirror the criminal charges against Smollett that were abruptly dismissed by prosecutors last month.

Smollett has maintained his innocence, and said he was "truthful and consistent" from the start, but prosecutors have said they do not believe he is innocent, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said the actor owes Chicago an apology.

Jussie Smollett isn't getting off scot-free for the alleged attack that occurred earlier this year.

The unusual move caught Chicago police brass by surprise and brought swift condemnation from Emanuel, who called it a "whitewash of justice". The suit claimed that Smollett - who allegedly became friends with Abel Osundairo in 2017, per the docs - texted Abel in late January: "Might need your help on the low".

The Law Department pulled no punches in their complaint, alleging that the "Defendant knew his attackers and orchestrated the purported attack himself".

Evidence sealed in the criminal case could be unsealed in the civil case and be presented at trial. The letter went on to say that if the amount was not paid within seven days, the city might prosecute Smollett "for making a false statement" or "pursue any other legal remedy available at law".

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