Chicago Files Civil Complaint Against 'Empire' Actor Jussie Smollett

Chicago Sues Jussie Smollett to Recoup Cost of Hate Crime Probe

The city of Chicago filed a lawsuit Thursday against "Empire" star Jussie Smollett and made good on their threat to use legal means to secure the costs of the investigation into his racial attack claims.

The lawsuit, which did not specify the amount of damages, was filed in Cook County Circuit Court over two weeks after prosecutors dismissed the criminal charges against Smollett alleging he fabricated the January 29 attack.

"This follows his refusal to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on January 29, 2019", reads a statement from the city of Chicago. After threatening legal action against Smollett last week, they are moving forward with their lawsuit against the actor.

After weeks of investigation, Chicago police determined that Smollett cooked up the scheme - in which they allege he hired two brothers to pose as his attackers - because he was dissatisfied with his salary on "Empire".

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Jussie Smollett, pictured at a March 14 court appearance in Chicago.

He was charged in February with staging the incident and filing a false police report. However, Chicago could ask the actor to pay three times the amount of damages it sustained - more than $390,000 - under a current city code.

The city filed a 12-page civil complaint Thursday saying the city "incurred significant costs" related to the investigation.

The City says the cost of investigating the case was at least $130,000 in overtime alone, but it wants hundreds of thousands of dollars on top of that to cover attorneys fees and additional expenses. In dismissing the case, prosecutors said they had cut a deal with the actor to perform two days of community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the city of Chicago.

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The lawsuit also asks for $1,000 for each false statement made to police.

Smollett's lawyer sent a letter to the city last week and said his client "will not be intimidated" into paying.

The decision to drop the charges against Smollett has led to a firestorm of criticism against State's Attorney Kim Foxx. The timeline includes a 41-point blow-by-blow, from when Smollett first met the Osundario brothers - the purported attackers - in the fall of 2017 until the final allegation that Smollett continued to be in contact with the brothers in the days after the alleged attack. Geragos argued that it was unprecedented for the city to seek a file a suit for false statements after the state's attorney's office dropped criminal charges, and that doing so would violate Smollett's rights not to be subjected to "double jeopardy".

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