CHICAGO — The City of Chicago will be filing a civil lawsuit against Jussie Smollett after he refused to reimburse the city for investigative costs into what authorities said was a staged racist, anti-gay attack.
The following statement was issued by Bill McCaffrey, City of Chicago Department of Law:
Mr. Smollett has refused to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on January 29, 2019. The Law Department is now drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook Country. 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.
Thursday was the deadline for Smollett to issue payment. Thursday was seven days since Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s law chief sent the “Empire” actor a letter demanding the payment.
The March 28 letter said he must pay within seven days but didn’t specify a response if he didn’t.
Nonpayment will likely prompt the city to sue Smollett, prompting a civil trial where standards for proving he staged the incident will be lower than in criminal court.
Chicago sent the letter after state prosecutors dropped criminal charges accusing Smollett of orchestrating the attack.
Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot could reverse any legal action after she’s sworn in May 20.