CHICAGO (CBS) — Former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett is fighting the City of Chicago, in hopes of getting a civil case against him dropped.
On Jan. 29 , Chicago Police opened a hate crime investigation after Smollett said he was attacked on Lower North Water Street near his Chicago apartment. According to police, Smollett said two men approached him around 2 a.m., shouted “racial and homophobic slurs,” poured an “unknown chemical substance” on him and wrapped a noose around his neck.
Police later said that Smollett staged the attack and charged him with filing a false police report. Those charges were later dropped by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
In April, the city sued Smollett, seeking to recoup the money spent to investigate his claim the attack.
After the charges against Smollett were dropped, then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel then had the city’s Law Department send Smollett a letter titled “Re: Repayment of Investigation Costs for False Police Report,” requiring “immediate payment of the $130,106.15 expended on overtime hours in the investigation of this matter.”
The March 28 letter said, if Smollett did 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.
Smollett’s legal team responded to the letter soon afterward, saying Smollett would not pay the $130,000 for the cost of the investigation as it was “unconstitutional.”
In a motion filed on Monday as the suit makes its way through court, Smollett’s attorneys argued that the city has not shown a direct link between alleged false statements and how much the investigation cost.
Meanwhile, two calls to 911 reporting Jussie Smollett had been the victim of a racially motivated attack in January were released in June. Thousands of pages of documents related to the case were made public in late May.