“The City’s Complaint appears to be an unprecedented effort to seek penalties and
resources expended in connection with allegedly false statements made to the police where the related criminal case concerning the statements was dismissed …on all counts,” attorneys for Smollett declared in paperwork accompanying a motion to dismiss (read the motion to dismiss here).
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“This perverse tactic is entirely at odds with the form, function, and prior use of the FSO (False Statements Ordinance) and CRO (Cost Recovery Ordinance) which by design allow the City to impose penalties and recover costs where a party has violated the law,” the comprehensive filing adds (read it here), hoping to end at least one portion of what has become a sad saga all round.
For those of you living under a rock this year, Smollett claimed that racist and homophobic assailants attacked him in the early morning of January 29 near his Chicago apartment.
First treated as a potential hate crime by Chicago cops and eliciting sympathy from the White House, Empire cast and creators and many more, the tide turned against Smollett as “persons of interest” siblings Ola and Abel Osundairo alleged that the actor himself was the mastermind of the whole thing. As various other suits were filed and Smollett lost his gig on the last season of the Lee Daniels and Danny Strong-created drama, criminal charges were laid against the man who played Jamal Lyon for almost five seasons.
However, the case was suddenly dropped and sealed in late March.
Smollett is now also fighting the appointment of a special prosecutor in that highly controversial seemingly sleight of hand by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office — a move that saw a hurricane of blowback from the CPD and exiting Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The now CNN contributing latter decried the “whitewash of justice, as Emanuel called the end of the criminal case, and vowed to seek restitution.
In this instance, the former Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama did more than huff and puff.
Once Smollett missed an April 4 deadline on repaying the city for the cost of “the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report,” as a spokesperson for the Mayor termed it at the time, Emanuel kept his word and went to court.
Though some thought that new Mayor Lori Lightfoot would quietly drop the high profile matter, she has not. In fact, while Chicago is seeking just over $130,000 in expenditures, the law allows the plaintiff to request a re-payment of three times that sum – AKA $390,318.45.
An amount and a process that Smollett and his lawyers obviously believe to be out of bounds, on a multitude of levels – no matter if the defendant lied or not, which he says he didn’t.
“Apart from the City’s improper attempt to prosecute charges that the State’s Attorney dismissed, the City fails to adequately plead claims against Defendant under the FSO and CRO,” asserts the August 5 memorandum that was filed with the motion to dismiss. “Both claims fail to state sufficient factual allegations to support a reasonable inference that Defendant’s allegedly false statements caused the CPD 1,836 overtime hours and the City paying $130,106.15 in overtime pay,” the documents states, essentially putting the math of the City’s whole case in disarray.
Now, we’ll have to see which way the Windy City wants to blow with this going forward with a hearing on the motion to dismiss set for August 13. In that vein, officials for the city of Chicago did not respond today to Deadline’s request for comment.