Jussie Smollett has filed a countersuit against the city of Chicago and other parties, claiming that he was the victim of “malicious prosecution” after he was charged with orchestrating a fake hate crime against himself. (The charges were later dropped.)
On Tuesday, Smollett’s attorneys filed a response in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The response, obtained by PEOPLE, addresses each individual accusation in the initial suit. Additionally, they filed a counterclaim, also obtained by PEOPLE, arguing that the actor was the victim of a “malicious prosecution” that caused him to suffer “substantial economic damages as well as reputational harm, humiliation, mental anguish and extreme emotional distress in an amount according to proof at trial.”
The court documents state that the defendants “conduct as herein alleged was willful and wanton, and committed maliciously, fraudulently, and oppressively, with the wrongful intent of injuring Mr. Smollett, and in conscious disregard of Mr. Smollett’s rights.”
A spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Law told PEOPLE in a statement: “The City stands by its original complaint and will continue to pursue this litigation. The judge in this case has already ruled in our favor once and we fully expect to be successful in defeating these counterclaims.”
In the court documents, Smollett’s lawyers argued that the city of Chicago “is not entitled to recover further costs for services provided by the city in investigating and responding to Mr. Smollett’s police report because it has already collected $10,000 from Mr. Smollett.”
“Having agreed to accept $10,000 from Mr. Smollett as payment in full in connection with the dismissal of the charges against him, the city cannot seek additional recovery from Mr. Smollett under the doctrine of accord and satisfaction,” the documents continue.
According to the documents, Smollett’s attorneys are seeking that the city of Chicago be denied its requested relief; that the court award Smollett compensatory and punitive damages, in an amount to be determined at trial; and “for all other relief the court deems just and proper.”
The embattled actor pleaded not guilty to allegations that he lied to police when he said he was attacked in what authorities later claimed was a staged incident to draw attention to himself.
Though all charges against Smollett were suddenly dropped at the end of March, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office did not fully retreat from its initial decision to bring charges against him or otherwise address whether prosecutors still believed he staged the attack, saying they “stand by the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our approval of charges.”
Smollett’s attorneys released a statement to PEOPLE after the charges were dropped, saying, “Today, all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and his record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him. Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgment.”
“Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions,” the statement continued. “This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. This is wrong. It is a reminder that the victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result.”
After the scandal, Smollett’s character Jamal Lyon was written off Empire. Creator Lee Daniels confirmed in June that he would not return for the sixth and final season on FX.
Costar Terrence Howard, who played Smollett’s father Lucious Lyon, has called him “the heart of our show.”
“I was so proud of that young man who played my son, because he still loved me at the end of it and all he wanted to do was get closer to me,” Howard, 50, said in September on The Late Late Show with James Corden. “And out of nowhere he’s snatched away from us.”