CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel declined to say if he plans to have the city sue “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett to recover the money the Chicago Police Department spent investigating the attack, which police and prosecutors maintain was a hoax, even after the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office dropped all the charges.
“The person that committed that hoax is walking around, saying ‘I’m innocent, and everything I said is true,’” Emanuel said at an unrelated event Wednesday. “I would like a resolution, and a sense of accountability and responsibility in the system of who is right.”
The mayor also criticized prosecutors for suddenly dropping the charges at an emergency hearing on Tuesday, without first informing the Chicago Police Department, and without any kind of plea agreement requiring Smollett to admit guilt.
“Something is rotten in Denmark. It doesn’t add up. As I said yesterday, nothing here adds up,” Emanuel said.
CBS News learned Emanuel is considering suing Smollett to recoup some of those tax payer dollars wasted, adding up to $150,000. That’s 15 times more than the bond the actor forfeited Tuesday.
The mayor defended the amount of resources spent on investigating Smollett’s allegations that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime, which ultimately led to police charging him with orchestrating a the attack to further his own career.
“Yes, the taxpayers have put a lot of resources in, because we take the issue of a hate crime in our city serious,” he said. “In the process of uncovering whether a hate crime happened, they found out it was a hoax.”
Emanuel did not confirm or deny he is considering a lawsuit against Smollett, but did say the case deserves a more definitive conclusion. While prosecutors agreed to drop all 16 counts of disorderly conduct that had been filed against Smollett, the state’s attorney’s office maintained they stand by the decision to indict Smollett, and do not believe his innocent.
Smollett’s and his attorneys, however, he has been vindicated, and was telling the truth all along.
“You have the state’s attorney’s office says that the police did a good job, they took all the material to the grand jury, and came back with 16 different indictments, and they stand by that work that was done,” Emanuel said. “He is walking around saying he is a victim, and he’s been exonerated. One of those is right. He’s either a person who pulled a hoax around the hate crime for his racial background and sexual orientation, or he is totally a victim and innocent.”
“You both can’t be right, and the city of Chicago deserves an answer, and they deserve an answer about accountability and responsibility in the system,” he added.