Jussie Smollett Refuses to Reimburse the City of Chicago
Jussie Smollett has no intention of paying Chicago for his recent court drama.
Bill McCaffrey, a spokesperson for the city of Chicago’s Department of Law told ET on Thursday that Smollett "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 Law Department is now drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County," the statement continues. "Once it is filed, the Law Department will send a courtesy copy of the complaint to Mr. Smollett’s Los Angeles-based legal team. The Law Department will file the suit in the near future. As part of this legal action, the Law Department will pursue the full measure of damages allowed under the ordinance. The City of Chicago and Chicago Law Department will not have any further comment at this time."
Charges were dropped against the Empire actor at the end of last month for allegedly filing a false police report in which he claimed he was the victim of a hate crime. However, McCaffrey told ET after the charges were dropped that the city was seeking $130,106.15 from Smollett to cover the costs of the investigation into the actor's alleged attack.
"The city feels this is a reasonable and legally justifiable amount to collect to help offset the cost of the investigation," McCaffrey told ET.
A letter to Smollett from the Department of Law, City of Chicago, stated that "in order to resolve the matter without further legal action, the City requires immediate payment of the $130,106.15 expended on overtime hours in the investigation of this matter." The letter said the payment must be made within seven days, or the Department of Law may prosecute Smollett for making a false statement to the city of Chicago.
Smollett's legal team issued a letter to the city of Chicago explaining why the actor is refusing to reimburse the city. In it, Smollett's lawyer, Mark Geragos, claims the city's letter is both factually and legally flawed and that Smollett will not be intimidated into paying the demanded sum of $130,106.15.
Geragos goes on to say that it is apparent that the city's threats were made maliciously and in bad faith and without an honest belief that a cause of action against Smollett exists.
Throughout the last couple of months, Smollett has maintained that he is a victim and has denied all allegations against him. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson felt differently, slamming the prosecution's decision to drop the charges against Smollett and expressing that they stood behind the Chicago detectives' investigation that led to Smollett getting indicted on 16 felony counts earlier this month for allegedly making false statements to two different Chicago Police officers.
Smollett's defense team then gave a statement to ET, stating that the actor was owed an apology, as his charges were dropped. “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," the statement read. "Jussie has paid enough."
Additionally, Smollett's attorney, Patricia Brown Holmes, also accused Chicago officials of carrying out a smear campaign against her client.
"We are disappointed the local authorities have continued their campaign against Jussie Smollett after the charges against him have been dropped," Holmes said in a statement to ET. "The facts are clear. The Assistant State’s Attorney appeared in court and dismissed the charges. Mr. Smollett forfeited his bond. The case is closed. No public official has the right to violate Mr. Smollett’s due process rights. Mr. Smollett, like every citizen, is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."
Smollett, himself, addressed reporters after his ruling, saying that he had "been truthful and consistent on every level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of."
"This has been an incredibly difficult time," he continued. "Honestly one of the worst of my entire life. But I am a man of faith and I am a man that has knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this. I just wouldn’t. Now I’d like nothing more than to get back to work and move on with my life."
ET caught up with Empire co-star Taraji P. Henson at the premiere of The Best of Enemies in New York on Thursday where she was asked for her reaction to the charges against Smollett being dropped, to which she replied, "I mean, the truth always prevails. Thank you."
The Best of Enemies arrives in theaters on Friday, April 5.
See more on the legal case in the video below.
Taraji P. Henson Says Jussie Smollett Will Return to 'Empire'
City of Chicago Wants Jussie Smollett to Pay $130,000 for Cost of Investigation
Jussie Smollett’s Lawyer Says Actor Is the Victim of a ‘Smear Campaign’ by Police