The saga continues surrounding actor Jussie Smollett’s claims that he was the victim of a hate crime earlier this year as a new civil suit seeks a six-figure sum from the former “Empire” star to repay Chicago for the investigation.
As CrimeOnline has previously reported, Smollett faced criminal charges related to what authorities said was a hoax report meant to increase his exposure.
After those charges were dropped last month, law enforcement and other city leaders denounced the decision. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the case amounted to “a whitewash of justice” and police announced their intention to recoup more than $130,000 in resources spent investigating his claims.
Smollett maintains his innocence, however, and has made no effort to pay the amount, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter. If he comes out on the wrong side of the civil suit, the city could be awarded three times that amount — or nearly $400,000.
And in that scenario, Chicago would have the authority to freeze his bank assets should he ignore the order. Of course, if the result goes the other way, the city could lose out on the court-related costs in addition to the expense of the probe itself.
The city of Chicago makes it official, files a civil complaint against Jussie Smollett seeking to make him repay the city the $130K it says it spent investigating his claims of an attack in January pic.twitter.com/A8Hwew5k4i
— Mark Berman (@markberman) April 11, 2019
If the case is not settled outside of the courtroom, a jury would have the opportunity to determine whether the city proved its position.
Mark Geragos, an attorney representing the actor, wrote Chicago officials last week to denounce what he described as the city’s “defamatory” effort to “harass” his client.
As part of the controversial deal that resulted in charges against him being dropped, Smollett is required to forfeit his $10,000 bond and perform community service.
[Featured image: AP Photo/Paul Beaty]