Actor Jussie Smollett is fighting back.
On Tuesday, the city of Chicago filed a lawsuit against the former Empire star, seeking damages for investigating his alleged hate crime assault back in January.
The suit was prompted after Smollett refused to pay the city for overtime police work. The Windy City is seeking over $130,000 in expenditures, making up for the massive unforseen investigative work the force utilized to solve Smollet’s hate crime they say was staged.
In a statement, the city wrote:
“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. 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.”
According to Deadline, plaintiffs can request a repayment of three times whatever they spent, in this case, totaling $390,318.45. The lawsuit also requests recoupment of attorneys fees and punitive damages for the 1,836 hours of police manpower during the extended investigation. More than two dozen cops and detectives spent two weeks investigating Smollett's claims.
Smollett’s lawyers called the city’s lawsuit “perverse” and “unprecedented,” stressing that Smollett has never admitted any wrongdoing.
The 37-year-old was hospitalized after an alleged racist and homophobic attack on January 29 near his Streeterville apartment.
Initially, authorities investigated the matter as a hate crime, but eventually their suspicions turned to Smollett, believing he staged the hoax himself due to a lackluster Empire salary.
After weeks of back and forth, 16 disorderly conduct charges were dropped suddenly, with all case filings sealed and deemed confidential shortly after.
Smollett has maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal.
A hearing to dismiss the city’s lawsuit has been set for August 13.
Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images
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