Chicago to file civil suit against ‘Empire’ actor
CHICAGO — “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has refused to pay the city of Chicago more than $130,000 for the cost of investigating his reported hate crime, the city’s law department said Thursday.
Last week, the city sent Smollett a letter demanding the payment for what it cost police to investigate his alleged attack. The letter said he must pay within seven days, but didn’t say what would happen if he didn’t.
The city’s law department said it is now drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County in the near future. The city said it will pursue the full measure of damages allowed under the ordinance.
The money the city requested is separate from the $10,000 bond that Smollett forfeited as a condition of the charges against him being dropped.
“This is a reasonable and legally justifiable amount to collect to help offset the cost of the investigation,” said Bill McCaffrey, a spokesperson for the Department of Buildings.
“Given that he doesn’t feel any sense of contrition and remorse, my recommendation is that when he writes the check, in the memo section, he can put the words, ‘I’m accountable for the hoax,'” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said last week.
Emanuel said he believes Smollett not only cost the city financially, but also damaged Chicago’s reputation of being a place that welcomes people of all walks of life.
Smollett’s legal team fired back at Emanuel’s comments, issuing a statement saying, “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. Jussie has paid enough.”
Smollett had been charged with 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about a January attack in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood, which police say Smollett staged on himself because he was unhappy with his “Empire” salary. All charges against him were dropped in exchange for community service and forfeiture of his $10,000 bond payment.
What exactly happened in court just before the charges were dropped remains unknown as all records pertaining to the case have been sealed.