Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images(CHICAGO) — The City of Chicago has made good on its promise to sue Empire actor Jussie Smollett to recover the cost of their investigation into his claim that he was the victim of a hate crime attack earlier this year.
ABC News obtained a copy of the lawsuit Thursday, released by the Chicago Department of Law.
"The Law Department has filed a civil complaint against Mr. Smollett in the Circuit Court of Cook County that pursues the full measure of damages allowed under the false statements ordinance," said the accompanying statement by spokesperson Bill McCaffrey. "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."
The suit presents a detailed timeline of the investigation and the evidence gathered, beginning with Smollett's initial friendship in 2017 with the Osundairo brothers, who claim they helped stage the attack at Smollett's instruction. It ends with already reported statements Smollett made to investigators regarding the attack when they confronted him with evidence they say shows the attack was staged.
Smollett has continued to insist he didn't stage the attack and that he's been truthful in his statements to investigators.
"[T]he CPD expended significant resources investigating Defendant’s false report of a high-profile hate crime and physical assault," the suit declares. "Over two dozen CPD officers and detectives participated in the investigation, ultimately spending weeks investigating Defendant’s false statements. During the course of CPD’s investigation into Defendant’s false statements, CPD has incurred 1,836 overtime hours, which resulted in the City paying $130,106.15 in overtime pay as result of Defendant’s false statements."
March 28, the City of Chicago asked Smollett to reimburse them the $130,106.15, and threatened to sue if he didn't. On April 4, the Law Department announced that Smollett had refused, and that their suit was being prepared.
In a letter to the Department of Law obtained by ABC News April 5, Smollett's attorney, Mark Geragos, wrote, “Your unprecedented attempt to file a civil lawsuit against Mr. Smollett charging him…for 'repayment of investigation costs' is unconstitutional.” The letter also claimed the collection attempt was "part of a course of conduct intended to harass and irreparably injure Mr. Smollett…[he] will not be intimated into paying the demanded sum."
Cook County prosecutors announced March 26 that they had dropped all 16 felony charges against Smollett for allegedly staging the attack, in exchange for his forfeiting 10% of his $100,000 bond and for performing some already completed community service. In a press conference that same day, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson voiced their objections to the deal, with Emanuel calling it a "whitewash of justice."
21st Century Fox, which produces Empire, is now a part of Disney, ABC’s parent company.
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