On Tuesday, a federal judge in Illinois dismissed a request from former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett to dismiss the $130,000 lawsuit the city of Chicago filed against him for the money they spent investigating the actor’s alleged hoax hate crime.
WTTW reported that U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Kendall said the lawsuit will be “going forward” after ruling that the Chicago Police Department used a reasonable amount of resources to investigate the January 29 incident. In March, the same month Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, the City of Chicago Law Department demanded he reimburse the police department what they spent on overtime while investigating his claims.
Smollett, 37, who is openly gay and black, reportedly said he was attacked in Chicago by two unknown assailants who shouted homophobic and racist slurs, placed a noose around his neck, and dumped bleach on him. Authorities later shifted the investigation’s focus to Smollett himself after two brothers who knew him, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, reportedly claimed he paid them to stage the alleged hate crime attack.
Smollett’s attorneys have argued that the Osundairo brothers had targeted their client in a setup. Though Smollett initially faced criminal charges, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office faced backlash in late March when they abruptly dropped all the charges against him.
In their latest 12-page motion, obtained by the Chicago Tribune, Smollett’s lawyers wrote that police investigations are a “discretionary function” of the department and that there is no evidence that their expenses were incurred due to their client’s report. The lawyers asserted that Smollett’s report authorized “police and prosecutors to decide whether and how to investigate,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
Tuesday’s ruling means that the $130,000 lawsuit against Smollett will proceed. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that lawyers said they expect the trial to begin sometime next summer. Meanwhile, a special prosecutor is investigating Foxx’s decision to drop all criminal charges against the actor.
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[Featured image: Jussie Smollett/z/Demis Maryannakis/STAR MAX/IPx via AP]