Jussie Smollett won't reimburse Chicago's investigation costs; city vows civil suit
Chicago is vowing a civil suit against Jussie Smollett after the "Empire" actor "refused to reimburse" the city for the cost of investigating his controversial case.
In a statement obtained by Fox News, the city's law department said on Thursday that Smollett, 36, "has refused to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on Jan. 29, 2019." The statement said that the law department "is now drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County. "
Per the statement, the department aims to file in the near future, and will "pursue the full measure of damages allowed under the ordinance."
A rep for Smollett did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
CHICAGO SEEKS $130G FROM JUSSIE SMOLLETT AS ACTOR'S LEGAL TEAM DEMANDS APOLOGY FROM MAYOR, POLICE CHIEF
As previously reported, the city delivered a letter to Smollett's legal team last Thursday seeking $130,000 from the actor, covering "overtime hours in the investigation of this matter."
JUSSIE SMOLLETT'S ALLEGED HATE CRIME ATTACK: A TIMELINE OF EVENTS
The letter added that if the amount was not paid within seven days, the city might prosecute Smollett "for making a false statement" or "pursue any other legal remedy available at law."
At a news conference last Thursday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that the actor should "pay the city back."
"Given that he doesn't feel any sense of contrition and remorse, my recommendation is when he writes check in the memo section [of the check], he can put the word 'I'm accountable for the hoax," Emanuel stated.
Earlier in the week, the mayor stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his city's police force, denouncing prosecutors for dropping charges against Smollett and slamming the episode as a "whitewash of justice."
Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson had said they were not only furious with the outcome of Tuesday's surprise hearing, but also blindsided by the decision itself, with the officials learning that Smollett wouldn't face charges for allegedly faking a hate crime at the same time the public found out.
CHICAGO PD SUPERINTENDENT EDDIE JOHNSON, RAHM EMANUEL CALL JUSSIE SMOLLETT CHARGES BEING DROPPED 'WHITEWASH OF JUSTICE'
In a stunning reversal last Tuesday, the Cook County State Attorney’s office announced that all 16 felony counts against Smollett were being dropped and the record in the case sealed. Smollett voluntarily forfeited his $10,000 bond, and Smollett's attorney, Patricia Brown-Holmes, said the funds would likely go to Chicago.
CHICAGO TURNS ON JUSSIE SMOLLETT, SAYS ALLEGED HOAX HURTS REAL HATE CRIME VICTIMS
Smollett, who has maintained his innocence, previously pleaded not guilty to all 16 counts against him.
In late January, Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men as he was walking home from a Chicago Subway sandwich shop at around 2 a.m. The actor, who is black and openly gay, said the masked men beat him, made derogatory comments and yelled "This is MAGA country" — an apparent reference to President Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."
Police eventually determined the masked men were brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo, and they were identified as the men seen on surveillance video buying the rope that was hung around Smollett's neck during the alleged attack. Johnson told the press at the time that the Osundairo brothers were cooperating with authorities, and that the investigation was pivoting from a hate crime probe into an inquiry into false reporting.
Fox News' Jessica Sager, Sasha Savitsky, Matt Finn in Chicago, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.