Update – April 11th: The City of Chicago officially filed its lawsuit against Smollet on Thursday, according to the Chicago Tribune.
— Original Story —
It looks like the City of Chicago is ready to take action after what Mayor Rahm Emanuel called “a whitewash of justice.” The Chicago Department of Law has issued a statement announcing the preperation of a a civil lawsuit against Jussie Smollett seeking reimbursement for overtime costs incurred from investigating the actor’s alleged hate crime.
At the end of March, the Cook County’s State’s Attorney’s chose to drop all charges against Smollett, despite standing by the investigative work and holding that the actor was indeed guilty of lying to police. (Numerous calls for State Attorney Kim Foxx to resign have since erupted.) Emanuel disagreed with the decision and subsequently sent Smollett a bill for $130,106.15, the exact overtime costs of the police investigation into the now infamous orchestrated attack. The City demanded payment within a week, and now that Smollett has missed the deadline, the next step is to take him to civil court.
In a statement (via Variety), 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.”
Should the case actually go to trial, it’s likely Smollett’s original allegations will have to be litigated under oath. Essentially, it will give the justice system another chance to give a final ruling on whether or not the actor lied about the attack. And if a judge rules in the city’s favor, Smollett could be forced to pay three times the amount of damages initially sought by the city.
To recap, the 36-year-old Smollett claimed he was assaulted by two men hurling racial and homophobic slurs on the early morning of January 29th. After a month-long investigation, Chicago police indicted Smollett on 16 counts of disorderly conduct, concluding that he’d actually orchestrated the attack and filed a fake police report. Despite believing him to be guilty, prosecutors chose to drop the charges in lieu of community service and the forfeiture of his $10,000 bond.
“We believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” the Cook County’s State’s Attorney’s office, known for choosing not to pursue cases it doesn’t find serious enough, said in a statement. Writing in an opinion piece for The Chicago Tribune, State Attorney Kim Foxx said, “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. 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.”
The City of Chicago aren’t the only ones taking action against Smollett. Donald Trump has reportedly asked the Justice Department to “review” the case.