Jussie Smollett's legal team slammed the city of Chicago's lawsuit against the erstwhile "Empire" star, saying there was no way the actor could have predicted that police would use overtime to investigate the alleged hate crime hoax.
“My client from the beginning has maintained his innocence and disputed the city’s allegations,” William J. Quinlan, of the Quinlan Law Firm, wrote in a motion obtained by Chicago Sun-Times, adding, “It’s going to be very difficult for the city to prevail in making a case my client should pay for overtime for a case ultimately dismissed by the state’s attorney. It’s ridiculous and a stretch to require him to do so.”
Quinlan said in the filing that the city was "wrong" in its assumption that Smollett, 37, would have known about the overtime that would be incurred in the investigation.
"The mere fact somebody filed a police report doesn’t presume the investigation will be done and certainly not to the extent of what the city is claiming," Quinlan wrote. “Smollett has no control over that.”
His attorneys also made a point to note that Smollett continues to vehemently deny making any false statements in the case and said he remains the victim of a crime, but added, “The filing of a police report, in and of itself, does not necessitate a sprawling investigation nor does it, as a practical matter, usually result in an investigation as extensive as the one the CPD chose to undertake in this case."
“The City has failed to allege that Mr. Smollett was similarly ‘well aware’ that his statements to police would result in 1,836 hours of police overtime, or any other reasons why he should have known this would have been the case,” the filing states.
Quinlan griped, “This lawsuit was only filed by the former mayor ... out of frustration for the state’s attorney dismissing the charges.”
In January, Jussie told police he was attacked by two masked men as he was walking home from a Chicago Subway sandwich shop at approximately 2 a.m. The openly gay actor alleged that the masked men beat him, taunted him with homophobic and racial slurs and yelled, "This is MAGA country."
In February, police reportedly determined that Smollett's masked assailants were brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo, who trained Jussie and worked with him on "Empire." Authorities also identified the brothers as those on surveillance video purchasing the rope that was reportedly hung around Jussie's neck during the alleged attack.
In June, the Chicago Police Department released a trove of evidence gathered during the course of their investigation into Smollett’s claims. Surveillance video obtained by Fox News at the time appeared to show Smollett and two brothers – whom police insisted the actor paid to pretend to beat him – walking around the vicinity of the alleged attack site minutes before it happened, according to police notes.
Smollett's attorneys argue federal court is the proper venue for the case because the actor, who lived in Chicago while filming "Empire," is actually a California resident.
Smollett is steadfast on clearing his name of allegations he staged an elaborate hoax hate crime against himself.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told the press that the Osundairos were cooperating witnesses in his investigation, which had pivoted from investigating a hate crime against Smollett into a case of Smollett allegedly filing a false police report. Smollett was charged with and pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct.
All charges against Smollett were dropped in late March. An internal investigation is reportedly being conducted in the Chicago Police Department in relation to the case. The city of Chicago is suing Jussie to recoup costs related to the investigation into his alleged hoax.
The Associated Press and Fox News' Julius Young contributed to this report.