The City of Chicago announced on Thursday that it is filing a civil lawsuit against Jussie Smollett after the actor refused to reimburse the city for costs associated with the investigation of his alleged hate crime hoax.
Chicago sent Smollett a letter in late March demanding that he pay $130,000 to offset costs of attack investigation, saying: "This is a reasonable and legally justifiable amount to collect to help offset the cost of the investigation."
Smollett failed to pay the amount at the end of the one-week deadline that Chicago set in place despite being warned that he would face legal action if he refused.
"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," Bill McCaffrey, City of Chicago Department of Law, said in a statement. "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 Los Angeles-based legal team."
"The Law Department will file the suit in the near future. As part of this legal action, the Law Department will pursue the full measure of damages allowed under the ordinance," the statement continued. "The City of Chicago and Chicago Law Department will not have any further comment at this time."
On Thursday, The Daily Wire reported that Chicago's newly elected mayor, Lori Lightfoot, has made it a top priority for her administration to figure out what happened with the Smollett case.
"We cannot create the perception that if you’re rich or famous or both that you got one set of justice and for everybody else, it’s something much harsher. That won’t do, and we need to make sure that we have a criminal justice system that has integrity," Lightfoot said in an interview. "The state’s attorney’s office has to provide more information about the rationale for the decision to drop the charges."
While the reaction to the charges being dropped against Smollett has been overwhelmingly negative, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) praised the move.
"It’s the correct thing that the charges were dropped," Waters said this week. "First of all, we probably will never know all of the details. We’ve heard a lot of information. No one was hurt — that is, physically, killed, shot — he never committed a crime before, he forfeited the bail and it’s this kind of situation where they close the case all over the country every day. I have learned this isn't unusual."
Waters went on to praise Smollett, saying, "he’s an extremely talented man who people have come to love because he is on TV."
"I’m hopeful that he will go on with his career and be successful," Waters added.
After the charges were dropped, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel slammed the decision, calling it "a whitewash of justice."
"The city saw its reputation dragged through the mud," Emanuel added. "This is without of doubt a whitewash of justice and sends a clear message that if you’re in a position of influence and power, you’ll get treated one way, other people will be treated another way. There is no accountability in the system. It is wrong, full stop."
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