Jussie Smollett: City of Chicago to sue actor over alleged attack

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Jussie Smollett coming out Cook County jailImage copyright
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Jussie Smollett will be sued by the City of Chicago after “refusing to reimburse” the cost of investigating an alleged assault on him in the city.

Prosecutors say a homophobic and racist attack was staged to boost the actor’s career, but Smollett has always maintained his innocence.

The 36-year-old was given seven days to pay $130,000 (£99,000) to cover the investigation’s cost.

The deadline passed on Thursday and now a civil complaint will be filed.

The City of Chicago’s law department said it will “pursue the full measure of damages allowed”, adding in a statement that the lawsuit will be filed “in the near future”.

After initially being treated as a victim Smollett was accused of staging the attack and became the subject of the police investigation, but the charges against the actor were dropped last week.

Prosecutors say they still believe the Empire star faked the attack.

Image copyright
Getty Images

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Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says: “At the end of the day, it is Mr Smollett who committed this hoax”

The charges were dropped because Smollett forfeited a $10,000 (£7,600) bond payment and carried out community service, according to Illinois prosecutor Joe Magats.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel called it a “a whitewash of justice” and claimed Smollett had dragged the city’s reputation “through the mud”.

In the initial letter demanding $130,000, which includes overtime hours police used on the case, the City of Chicago said: “As part of the investigation, Chicago police reviewed video and physical evidence and conducted several interviews, expending resources that could have been used for other investigations.

“Ultimately, the Chicago police investigation revealed that you knowingly filed a false police report and had in fact orchestrated your own attack.”

A new Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, was elected on Wednesday and will be sworn in on 20 May.

She told MSNBC following her victory that there needs to be a “much more fulsome explanation” as to why 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.

“That won’t do and we need to make sure that we have a criminal justice system that has integrity.”

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Newsbeat has contacted representatives for Jussie Smollett for comment.

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