The city of Chicago has decided it now wants triple the amount it initally asked Smollett to pay.
Smollett has refused to pay for the costs of the investigation into his alleged “hate hoax.”
Fox News reported that the city of Chicago sued actor Jussie Smollett on Thursday for the cost of investigating his controversial case, as promised, one week after the “Empire” actor refused to reimburse the city.
In a statement obtained by Fox News, the city’s law department said on Thursday that it filed a civil complaint against Smollett, 36, 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,” the statement added.
This news comes on the heels of Chicago prosecutor Kim Foxx dropping all charges against Smollett.
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Chicago filed a lawsuit against Jussie Smollett on Thursday in a bid to recoup the costs of investigating a racist, anti-gay attack that authorities say was orchestrated by the “Empire” actor as a publicity stunt, with the city saying — at minimum — that it now wants triple the amount it initially asked Smollett to pay.
The 12-page civil lawsuit , filed in Cook County court, is the latest volley in a legal battle that shows no signs of abating since Smollett reported that masked men beat him up on Jan. 29 in Chicago, shouting slurs and wrapping a rope around his neck.
The suit comes after Smollett refused a demand that he send the city $130,106 to reimburse Chicago for overtime as police sought to verify Smollett’s account.
The lawsuit doesn’t specify an amount of money the city is seeking but does indicate it wants over $390,000 plus “further relief as this Court deems just and equitable.” It also asks that Smollett be ordered to foot any legal bills Chicago incurs in suing him.
More than two dozen officers and detectives spent two weeks investigating Smollett’s claims, with the police department forced to pay for 1,836 overtime hours, the filing says.
The city’s resolve to take Smollett to civil court follows a surprising decision by prosecutors in March to drop all criminal charges accusing him of staging the incident, saying they believed they could prove the charges but that it wasn’t worth the time and expense.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel denounced the decision as “a whitewash of justice,” and others criticized the Cook County state’s attorney’s office for not requiring an apology and an admission of guilt from Smollett as a condition for tossing the case.
The complaint, written by City Hall’s top attorney, Edward Siskel, lacks the hard-hitting language and denunciations of Smollett by Emanuel. It’s devoted primarily to describing the allegations already spelled out when Smollett was charged in late February.
Smollett, who is black and gay, maintains he has told the truth from the beginning. Reached by phone Thursday evening, a spokeswoman for Smollett’s legal team said there wasn’t an immediate comment on the lawsuit. Smollett’s lawyers would have to respond with a court filing and could move in coming weeks to have the lawsuit thrown out.
Smollett lawyer Mark Geragos said in a letter to the city last week that claims Smollett made the entire thing up were “defamatory,” accusing Chicago of trying to “harass” Smollett and pointing to the dismissal of charges as proof he is innocent. It also said Smollett wouldn’t be “intimidated” into paying anything.
Unless the case is settled beforehand, the lawsuit would eventually go before a jury, which would have to decide if the city or Smollett is right.
If Smollett still refuses to pay after a verdict in the city’s favor, his bank accounts could be frozen.
Smollett admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed to do some community service before charges were dropped. He also agreed to forfeit $10,000 in bond money, which the city could use against him in the civil case as an implied admission of guilt.