Actor Jussie Smollett "purposely misled" Chicago police when he claimed that two men who allegedly attacked him were white, a civil lawsuit filed by the city of Chicago claims.
The city filed the suit on Thursday after the "Empire" actor missed a deadline to reimburse authorities for the hundreds of hours of overtime put in by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) in the course of investigating the alleged underlying hate crime. The city demanded Smollett pay $130,000, but he failed to do so.
The lawsuit also includes rebuttals of claims Smollett made after the alleged January 29 attack. The actor told police that the main attacker "was wearing a ski mask that covered his entire face, with the exception of the area around his eyes, by which [Smollett] could tell the attacker was white-skinned," the lawsuit says.
Smollettt, who is black, allegedly hired brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo, who also are black, to attack him in a hate hoax crime.
"Defendent made this statement despite knowing that the Osundairo Brothers are not white-skinned," the suit says, according to the New York Post. "By providing this false description, (Smollett) purposely misled the CPD officers to believe that his attackers were white, when, in fact, (Smollett) knew that his attackers were the Osundairo brothers."
The suit also says, "At no point did Defendant inform police that he knew his attackers or recognized their appearances or voices."
To bolster his claim that the attackers were white, Smollett said the two men yelled racist and homophobic remarks, at one point invoking President Trump’s signature slogan, "Make America Great Again" by saying, "This is MAGA country."
A Chicago grand jury indicted Smollett in March on 16 felony counts that he allegedly lied to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime. Those charges came after he was arrested in February and charged with felony disorderly conduct for the allegedly false police report.
But the Cook County, Illinois state attorney's office last month suddenly dropped all charges and sealed the case. "After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett's volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case," the office said in a statement.
Smollett's lawyers claimed victory, saying in a statement that the actor "was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgement."
"Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions. This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result," the lawyers said.
Smollett also claimed that he had been "truthful" throughout.
But if the city wins its case, Smollett could be out a lot of money. "Under a city ordinance, Chicago is entitled to recoup three times its total damages — or about $390,000," the Post wrote. "The city also will seek unspecified attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as a $1,000 fine for each false statement to police."
While the city was filing the lawsuit, Smollett was spotted on the beach in Hawaii vacationing with his family, The Daily Caller reported.