City of Chicago Files Lawsuit Against Jussie Smollett to Repay Police Investigation Costs

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The City of Chicago filed a lawsuit against Empire star Jussie Smollett on Thursday (April 11) after the actor and singer refused to reimburse costs of police overtime spent investigating his report of an attack in January. 

The city states, in documents obtained by Billboard, that its lawsuit is an attempt to recover civil penalties, statutory treble damages and attorney's fees and costs resulting from Smollett's claims. 

On Jan. 29, Smollett submitted a police report claiming he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. Smollett has since been accused of orchestrating the purported incident himself and providing false statements to officials. 

In the lawsuit, the City of Chicago outlines how Smollett allegedly planned the fake attack with two Nigerian brothers because he was unhappy with how Empire producers had handled a racist and homophobic letter he had received three days earlier. The suit claims Smollett paid the brothers $3,500 for their role in the plot and supplied them with $100 to purchase supplies, including a rope and clothing items. 

The City of Chicago lists significant resources spent investigating Smollett's allegedly false report: more than two dozen Chicago Police Department officers and detectives participated in the weeks-long investigation, causing the department to incur 1,836 overtime hours that cost the City $130,106.15 in overtime pay. 

For allegedly violating the Chicago's False Statements Ordinance, the City is requesting damages in an amount to be determined at trial that include but is not limited to that overtime compensation. It is also seeking a civil penalty of $1,000 for each false statement he made to officials and attorneys' fees and costs. 

As well, under Chicago's Cost Recovery Ordinance, the City states Smollett is responsible for additional costs incurred in relation to services provided investigating his allegedly false claims. That amount, too, is to be determined at trial.