Chicago Files Civil Complaint Against 'Empire' Actor Jussie Smollett

Angelo Anderson
April 12, 2019

The March 28 letter said, if Smollett does not pay within seven days, the city could prosecute him for making a false statement, and take him to civil court to seek up to three times that amount as damages, plus court costs and attorney's fees.

Two days later, the Department of Law sent Smollett a letter that threatened legal action if he didn't pay for the overtime costs within a week.

The 36-year-old "Empire" actor, who is black and openly gay, told police he was attacked by two masked men when he was returning home from a Subway sandwich store on January 29 around 2 a.m. Police arrested two brothers who they initially linked to the alleged attack, claiming the brothers told them Smollett had paid them $3,500 to stage the attack.

Charges were dropped against the 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.

Last week, Smollett's lawyers said they would welcome the civil suit, and that if the city filed to recover the $130,000, they would depose both Emanuel and Chicago's Police Superintendent, Eddie Johnson.

An earlier statement issued by the city's Law Department had vowed that the lawsuit against Smollett would pursue "the full measure of damages" allowed by municipal law.

After weeks of investigation, Chicago police determined that Smollett cooked up the scheme - in which they allege he hired two brothers to pose as his attackers - because he was dissatisfied with his salary on "Empire".

The complaint also outlines the evidence that supports their argument, including statements made by the Osundairo brothers, who Jussie accused of allegedly attacking him.

Last month, Cook County prosecutors dropped 16 counts of disorderly conduct against Smollett, after he agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bail, and performed 16 hours of community service.

The unusual move caught Chicago police brass by surprise and brought swift condemnation from Emanuel, who called it a "whitewash of justice".

Smollett's lawyers rebuffed the demand, claiming that it was Smollett who was owed an apology.

The Law Department pulled no punches in their complaint, alleging that the "Defendant knew his attackers and orchestrated the purported attack himself".

In a stunning reversal, the Cook County State Attorney's office announced on March 26 that all 16 felony counts against Smollett were being dropped and the record in the case sealed.

Even in Circuit Court, with its lower standard of proof than in criminal trials, the city won't be able to prove that Smollett staged the attack, Geragos wrote.

The city says it was fake, but Smollett maintains he did nothing wrong.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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