The city of Chicago is preparing to sue “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett for $130,000 to recoup the costs of its hate crime investigation.
Last week, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office dropped 16 counts against Smollett, who had been accused of faking a hate crime against himself. The decision caused an uproar in Chicago, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other officials blasting the prosecutor’s office.
Two days later, the city’s Department of Law sent Smollett a bill in the amount of $130,106.15, and gave him one week to pay up. That deadline expired Thursday afternoon, and the Law Department issued a statement saying it was drafting a lawsuit.
“Mr. Smollett has refused to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on Jan. 29, 2019,” the city said. “The Law Department is now drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County… The Law Department will file the suit in the near future. As part of this legal action, the Law Department will pursue the full measure of damages allowed under the ordinance.”
Smollett has maintained his innocence. On Jan. 29, he told police that he was jumped while walking on the street at 2 a.m. He alleged that two men beat him, poured bleach on him, and used racial and homophobic slurs. Police later concluded that Smollett had hired his personal trainer, Abel Osundairo, and the trainer’s brother Ola to attack him. Police alleged he was seeking a higher salary on the show.
The prosecutor’s office presented the case to a grand jury, which indicted Smollett on 16 charges of filing a false police report. The State’s Attorney’s Office has said that it stands by the police investigation, but that Smollett’s case was not serious enough to warrant jail time.
“I was elected on a promise to rethink the justice system, to keep people out of prison who do not pose a danger to the community,” State’s Attorney Kim Foxx wrote in an opinion piece for the Chicago Tribune. “I promised to spend my office’s finite resources on the most serious crimes in order to create communities that are both safer and fairer.”
Kevin Graham, president of the Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, held a press conference Thursday to call on Foxx to resign.