The City of Chicago has filed a lawsuit against Empire actor Jussie Smollet after he missed the deadline to pay the costs associated with the investigation into his alleged “racist and homophobic attack.”
The 36-year-old pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct at a hearing earlier this month, which followed his arrest in February for filing a false police report. Smollett had been accused of lying to police about an alleged racist and homophobic attack he said he was the victim of on January 29, 2019.
After having always claimed that he was an innocent victim in the case, all criminal charges against Smollett were dropped by prosecutors last month (March 26). Yet Smollett was later ordered to to pay $130,000 (£99,500) by the city of Chicago to cover the costs of his recent criminal investigation.
Now, after missing the deadline to pay the costs, the city’s law department has confirmed that a lawsuit has been filed against the star.
Prosecutors allege that Smollett staged a homophobic and racist attack to boost his career, although the 36-year-old has always maintained his innocence.
Announcing the lawsuit earlier this month, a statement from Chicago said: “Mr Smollett has refused to reimburse the city Of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on 29 January 2019.
“The law department is now drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court Of Cook County. Once it is filed, the law department will send a courtesy copy of the complaint to Mr Smollett’s LA-based legal team.”
They continued: “The lawsuit will be filed “in the near future” and the city will “pursue the full measure of damages allowed.”
It comes ahead of new Mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot being sworn in on 20 May.
The mayor said there needs to be a “much more fulsome explanation” after the charges against Smollett were dropped.
“We cannot create the perception that if you’re rich or famous or both that you get one set of justice, and for everybody else it’s something much harsher,” she said.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has called for the Department of Justice to “review” Jussie Smollet’s case after the actor had all charges against him dropped.
Responding to the news on Twitter, Trump tweeted: “FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago.”