City of Chicago sues Jussie Smollett for costs associated with investigating his hoax hate crime

TV actor Jussie Smollett is going to pay for perpetrating a hoax on the Chicago Police Department, even though all charges against him have been dropped and the records sealed.

The city announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Smollett, looking to recover costs for the intense investigation it undertook to find Smollett's "attackers."


The City of Chicago's Law Department filed the suit after Smollett failed to meet a city-demanded deadline to pay more than $130,000 into that allegedly staged attack. 

City attorneys write in the suit, "Defendant knew his attackers and orchestrated the purported attack himself.  Later, when police confronted him with evidence, he still refused to disclose his involvement." 

The lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County and seeks money "included, but not limited to $130,105.15."  The suit also asks Smollett be found liable to the city for $1,000 "for each false statement he made to the city, in addition to three times the amount of the damages that the city sustained, as well as litigation and collection costs, and attorneys' fees." 

"They've got a case on the face of it," said ABC7 Legal Analyst Gil Soffer.  "Whether they win is a different story, but they've got a case." 

Soffer said through the process called discovery the public could see a lot. 

"Lawyers for the city will get evidence that exists," Soffer explained.  "They'll get tape recordings.  They'll get video surveillance, they'll get phone records and they'll take depositions.  And transcripts will be made of those depositions.  And then if it goes through to a trial we'll see all of this come out in the open.  You'll see Jussie Smollett take the stand and testify." 

Smollett had better think twice about not paying what he owes.  If all of that comes out and becomes part of the public record, he will be a laughingstock for claiming innocence of the hoax.

The investigation took about a month.  That $130K bought a lot of legwork on the part of detectives who reportedly are still upset over their hard work being tossed aside for political considerations.

What those detectives probably understand is that no one — not the police brass, city politicians, or even black activists — wanted this case to come to trial.  The police didn't want the high profile, given recent history regarding troubles with black citizens.  The politicians saw a racial nightmare with people taking sides and subsequent racial strife.  And black activists were afraid that Smollett was guilty.

And given the political interference in this case from national Democrats, it seems that the powers that be determined that the case should simply disappear.

But Smollett will pay.  And that's small comfort to the city.

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