Plan to pursue ‘the full measure of damages’ allowed by city law…
(Chicago Tribune) “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett missed a deadline to repay Chicago $130,000 for an alleged hate crime hoax, so outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration is planning to sue him over it, according to a statement issued Thursday.
The city notified Smollett’s attorneys by letter last week of its demand that he pay $130,106 — the cost of the police overtime hours expended in the investigation into his allegations. The letter warned that if Smollett did not pay by April 4, the city “may prosecute you for making a false statement to the city.”
City attorneys are preparing a lawsuit and plan to pursue “the full measure of damages” allowed by city law, according to a statement.
“Mr. Smollett has refused to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on January 29, 2019. The Law Department is now drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County,” Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey said in the statement. “Once it is filed, the Law Department will send a courtesy copy of the complaint to Mr. Smollett’s Los Angeles-based legal team.”
Smollett spokeswoman Anne Kavanagh had no comment.
Last week, after Emanuel said he was going to try to force Smollett to pay the police investigation costs, Smollett’s lawyers said city officials were the ones who owed an apology.
“It is the Mayor and the Police Chief who owe Jussie … an apology — for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud,” the statement said. “Jussie has paid enough.”
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office sparked an intense controversy last week when prosecutors abruptly dropped a 16-count indictment accusing Smollett of orchestrating a Jan. 29 racist and homophobic attack on himself to advance his career.
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.
The unusual move caught Chicago police brass by surprise and brought swift condemnation from Emanuel, who called it a “whitewash of justice.”
Smollett, who is African American and gay, has said he was walking from a Subway sandwich shop to his apartment in the 300 block of East North Water Street about 2 a.m. when two men walked up, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, hit him and wrapped a noose around his neck.
Smollett said they also poured a bleachlike substance on him and yelled, “This is MAGA country!” in reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Trump tweeted last week that he would tell the FBI to investigate how Smollett’s charges were dropped.
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