Chicago filed a lawsuit in opposition to Jussie Smollett on Thursday in a bid to recoup the prices of investigating a racist, anti-gay assault that authorities say was orchestrated by the “Empire” actor as a publicity stunt.
The 12-page civil lawsuit, filed in Cook dinner County court docket, is the most recent volley in a authorized battle that reveals no indicators of abating since Smollett reported that masked males beat him up on Jan. 29 in Chicago, shouting slurs and wrapping a rope round his neck.
WATCH: April four — Jussie Smollett faces deadline to pay again metropolis of Chicago
The town’s resolve to take Smollett to civil court docket follows a stunning determination by prosecutors in March to drop all prison fees accusing him of staging the incident, saying they believed they might show the costs however that it wasn’t well worth the time and expense.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel denounced the choice as “a whitewash of justice,” and others criticized the Cook dinner County state’s legal professional’s workplace for not requiring an apology and an request for forgiveness from Smollett as a situation for tossing the case.
The swimsuit comes after Smollett refused a requirement that he ship town $130,106 to reimburse Chicago for time beyond regulation as police sought to confirm Smollett’s account, included that his attackers yelled slogans supportive of President Donald Trump.
READ MORE: Jussie Smollett case — prosecutor Km Foxx suggests race is concerned in backlash
The lawsuit doesn’t embody a selected financial determine, however suggests the quantity town will search from Smollett might be greater than the $130,000. The criticism lacks the hard-hitting language within the metropolis’s letter to Smollett’s attorneys earlier this month.
Smollett, who’s black and homosexual, maintains he has advised the reality from the start. Reached by telephone Thursday night, a spokeswoman for Smollett’s authorized group mentioned there wasn’t an instantaneous touch upon the lawsuit.
Smollett lawyer Mark Geragos mentioned in a letter to town final week that claims Smollett made your entire factor up have been “defamatory,” accusing Chicago of attempting to “harass” Smollett and pointing to the dismissal of fees as proof he’s harmless.
WATCH: April 2 — Chicago Law enforcement officials protest determination to not press fees in opposition to Jussie Smollett
Except the case is settled beforehand, the lawsuit would ultimately go earlier than a jury, which must resolve if town or Smollett is correct.
Below town code, Chicago may triple the quantity town initially demanded that Smollett pay to greater than $390,000. If Smollett refuses to pay after a verdict within the metropolis’s favour, his financial institution accounts may very well be frozen.
Smollett admitted no wrongdoing, however agreed to do some neighborhood service earlier than fees have been dropped. He additionally agreed to forfeit $10,000 in bond cash, which town may use in opposition to him within the civil case as an implied request for forgiveness.
READ MORE: Smollett refuses to pay over $130,000 to reimburse prices of investigation — Metropolis of Chicago
Proof sealed within the prison case may very well be unsealed within the civil case and be offered at trial. Smollett may be required to sit down for depositions, forcing him for the primary time to elucidate proof that town says reveals he was mendacity.
To town’s benefit, the edge for proof might be decrease than in prison court docket. The town received’t should show past an inexpensive doubt Smollett staged the assault in civil court docket, solely that it’s extra probably true than not true that he did.
Among the many dangers for town is that the civil litigation may find yourself costing much more in authorized payments than it may ever hope to get from Smollett.
It’s additionally unclear if Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot is onboard with the Emanuel administration’s willpower to maintain authorized strain on Smollett. Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor who might be Chicago’s first black feminine mayor when she’s sworn in on Might 20, has indicated solely that the general public deserves a greater rationalization for why the prison fees in opposition to Smollett have been dropped.