Jussie Smollett's deadline to pay more than $130,000 to Chicago for investigative costs into what city authorities say was a staged racist, anti-gay attack or risk getting slapped with a civil lawsuit is looming.
Thursday marks seven days since Mayor Rahm Emanuel's law chief sent the "Empire" actor a letter demanding the payment. The March 28 letter said he must pay within seven days but didn't specify a response if he didn't.
Nonpayment will likely cause the city to sue Smollett, prompting a civil trial where standards for proving he staged the incident will be lower than in criminal court.
Chicago sent the letter after state prosecutors dropped criminal charges accusing Smollett of orchestrating the attack.
Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot could reverse any legal action after she's sworn in May 20.
Smollett's attorneys did not immediately return Fox News' request for comment.
After the letter was delivered to Smollett last week, the actor's lawyers demanded an apology from Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson "for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud."
"It is the Mayor and the Police Chief who owe Jussie - owe him an apology - for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud. Jussie has paid enough," Smollett's attorneys' told us last week.
According to the city law department, the city of Chicago is seeking "immediate payment" of the $130,000 "expended on overtime hours in the investigation of this matter."
Emanuel had said at the Thursday news conference 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.
Emanuel also said: "[This case] sends a clear message that if you're in a position of influence and power you'll be treated one way and if you're not you'll be treated another way."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.