In an interview with WGN News Thursday morning, Chicago's mayor, Rahm Emanuel, said that he and the Chicago Police Department are compiling a bill to send to "Empire" star Jussie Smollett so that he can reimburse the city for the cost of investigating his alleged hate crime.
"The Corporation Counsel, once they ... feel good about the numbers will then send a letter to Jussie Smollett and his attorneys trying to recoup those costs for the city," Emanuel told WGN's morning radio hosts.
The mayor expanded on his comments for reporters at a later press conference, insisting that he is dead serious about sending Smollett an invoice, and noting that he "expects Smollett and his legal team to write a check," according to Chicago's NBC affiliate.
"The police are assembling the cost [of the investigation]," Emanuel said. "They'll do that and then the corporation counsel of the city of Chicago will communicate to Jussie Smollett and his legal team about recouping that cost in that effort. And, given that he doesn't feel any sense of contrition and remorse, my recommendation is when he writes the check, in the memo section he can put the word, 'I'm accountable' for the hoax."
"The finance is a piece of it and an acknowledgement that what he did at every level was wrong," Emanuel added.
Estimates put the cost of the Chicago Police Department investigation in the six figures. As part of his off-the-books "deal" with the Cook County State's Attorney, however, Smollett has only ponied up $10,000 — the 10% surety he put down when he was bonded out of court on his first charge.
Both Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson have maintained that the Cook County prosecutor's decision to have Smollett "serve time" on his charges without admitting guilt "whitewashed" justice and allowed Smollett, whom police believe orchestrated his own hate crime attack back in January, to claim that he's innocent of all charges, even though the prosecutor's office says he was not in any way exonerated.
In an interview with Good Morning America Wednesday, Emanuel said that Smollett is "making a fool of all of us," that the actor has "abused the city of Chicago," and turned the city's values "upside down and inside out."
Smollett's attorneys fired back almost immediately in a statement directed at Emanuel.
"It is the mayor and the police chief who owe Jussie — owe him an apology — for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud. Jussie has paid enough," Smollett's attorneys said.
The city of Chicago is unlikely to be able to collect on such a bill, but that doesn't mean the number won't make headlines. In the time between Smollett's first report to police about his attack (January 29th) and when he was first charged with with filing a false police report (February 20th), more than 90 people were shot in the city of Chicago, including a one-year-old boy, Dejohn Irving, who was shot in the head and remains in critical condition.
Eighteen people were killed.
Although the Chicago Police Department is one of the nation's largest, there's no doubt that removing at least a dozen detectives from duty to track down Smollett's Trump-slogan spouting attackers made an impact on how efficient the city was at responding to and solving other crimes and both Emanuel and Johnson seem to want Smollett, who insists he did nothing wrong, to understand precisely how much his alleged fake hate crime cost the real victims of violence in Chicago.