Jussie Smollett Fights Chicago Suit on Investigation Costs

Actor and singer Jussie Smollett attends the “Empire” FYC Event in Los Angeles on May 20, 2016. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

CHICAGO (CN) – Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett Tuesday continued his battle with the city of Chicago, claiming that even if he did fake a hate crime against himself, he could not have predicted how much money the city would spend to solve it.

Maintaining his innocence in a reply to the city filed in federal court Tuesday evening, Smollett said that even if he was lying about being attacked on a Chicago street early this year he should not have to repay the police department for its work.

The city sued Smollett in April to recover the more than $130,000 it says it spent investigating the actor’s claims that two men attacked him, put a rope around his neck, poured liquid on him and yelled “MAGA country” at him.

Chicago Police Department investigators ultimately concluded that Smollett paid two men to stage the whole thing.

Criminal charges for the hoax were filed against the actor but then quickly dropped, sparking outrage from the public and city officials.

Smollett asked the court to dismiss the city’s claims under its False Statements and Cost Recovery Ordinances, alleging that it did not show causation between his statements and the resulting pricey investigation.

“The entire purpose of submitting a police report is to cause police to investigate the report,” the city said in its response to Smollett’s motion.

“Given these facts – a reported heinous hate crime against a high-profile victim featuring derogatory slurs and a slogan employed by the President of the United States – it is reasonably foreseeable that police would investigate thoroughly and incur overtime costs,” the response adds.

The response goes on to say the city has GPS, bank records, text messages and video evidence to back up testimony that “Jussie Smollett lied when he told Chicago Police Department officers that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.”

Smollett counters that all criminal charges against him were dropped and he should be presumed innocent.

“This unprecedented civil case was filed simply because former Mayor Rahm Emanuel disagreed with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s decision to dismiss the false police report charges against Mr. Smollett,” states the reply filed by William Quinlan, one of Smollett’s attorneys. 

Even so, the reply states that “investigations are a discretionary function of police departments.”

“The filing of a police report, in and of itself, does not necessitate a sprawling investigation nor does it, as a practical matter, usually result in an investigation such as the one CPD chose to undertake in this case.”

The actor had no way of knowing what the city would do after he spoke with police, he claims.

“The city has failed to allege that Mr. Smollett was ‘well aware’ that his statements to police would result in 1,836 hours of police overtime, or any other reasons why he should have known this would be the case,” Smollett’s reply states.

The city’s legal department said it had no comment on the developments in its lawsuit as the litigation is ongoing.

A hearing on Smollett’s motion to dismiss the complaint is set for Oct. 22.

A special prosecutor was recently appointed to investigate the way the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office handled Smollett’s criminal case.

State’s Attorney Kimberly M. Foxx came under fire when her office dropped the charges, and it was later revealed that Foxx was still involved in the short-lived case despite recusing herself.

Another federal lawsuit is pending against two of Smollett’s attorneys, Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian of Geragos & Geragos. The two men involved in the attack claim they were defamed by false statements the attorneys made to the media.

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