City of Chicago to sue Jussie Smollett for costs of probing alleged attack
The city of Chicago plans to sue Jussie Smollett to recoup the costs of investigating an alleged attack on the actor.
Empire star Smollett told police he had been the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in the city in January.
However, prosecutors said the attack was staged in a bid to boost his career and ordered Smollett to pay 130,000 dollars (£99,500) to cover the cost of the investigation.
The deadline for payment passed on Thursday and now Chicago plans to sue, it said in a statement.
It said: “Mr Smollett has refused to reimburse the City Of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on January 29, 2019.
“The Law Department is now drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court Of Cook County. Once it is filed, the Law Department will send a courtesy copy of the complaint to Mr Smollett’s LA-based legal team.”
The lawsuit will be filed “in the near future”, the statement said, and the city will “pursue the full measure of damages allowed”.
Prosecutors believe Smollett, 36, hired two brothers to stage the January 29 attack in central Chicago and that Smollett hoped the attention would help advance his career.
Police also allege that before the attack, Smollett sent a letter threatening himself to the Chicago television studio where Empire is shot.
However last month prosecutors, to the anger of the city’s mayor and police chief, abruptly dropped 16 felony counts that accused Smollett of making a false police report.
Smollett maintains his innocence and insists the attack took place. His future on musical drama Empire remains shrouded in doubt after he was written out of the end of season five, which is on air in the US now.
Smollett alleges two masked men hurled homophobic and racist slurs at him before wrapping a rope around his neck and pouring an unknown substance over him.
He also told detectives they shouted he was in “MAGA country”, an apparent reference to Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign slogan.
Mr Trump called the case an “embarrassment” for the country.
A representative for Smollett has been contacted for comment.