Jussie Smollett is being sued by Chicago over investigation costs

Filiz Mehmedova, Justin Harp
Photo credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo - Getty Images

From Digital Spy

UPDATED (12/4/19): The City of Chicago is suing actor Jussie Smollett in order to recover its costs investigating his alleged hate crime.

According to Variety, the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court on Thursday (April 11) says that more than $130,000 in overtime costs were incurred as a result of the police investigation.

The suit alleges: "On January 29, 2019, Defendant submitted a false police report claiming that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic beating by unknown attackers. In reality, Defendant knew his attackers and orchestrated the purported attack himself.

"Later, when police confronted him with evidence about his attackers, he still refused to disclose his involvement in planning the attack. In investigating Defendant’s false statements and false police report, the City incurred significant costs in order to provide services reasonably related to Defendant’s conduct.”

Last month, all charges against Smollett were dropped and he continues to maintain his innocence.

The City of Chicago's lawsuit follows his refusal to respond to the city's demand to pay the police overtime costs.

UPDATE (26/3/19): All charges against Empire star Jussie Smollett have been dropped, the actor's lawyers have confirmed.

Earlier this month, Smollett had been indicted on 16 counts in connection to his claims of being attacked in January, with the actor pleading not guilty to all counts (via BBC News).

Smollett's legal team confirmed in a statement to Variety today (March 26) that all the criminal charges against their client have now been dropped.

"Today, all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and his record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him," the statement read.

Photo credit: Alexander Tamargo - Getty Images

"Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He 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.

"Jussie is relieved to have this situation behind him and is very much looking forward to getting back to focusing on his family, friends and career."

In a statement regarding the new development, the Cook County Attorney's Office said that they had reviewed "all of the facts and circumstances of the case" – including Smollett's volunteer work and his agreement to forfeit his $10,000 bond – and added that "this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case".

Photo credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

UPDATE (8/3/19): Empire star Jussie Smollett has been indicted on 16 felony counts in Chicago in connection to his claims of being attacked in January.

Smollett was indicted by a grand jury on Friday (March 8) after previously being charged last month with felony disorderly conduct (via NBC News). He is alleged to have filed a false police report about the alleged January 29 attack.

The actor and his attorneys have maintained his innocence, and he personally denied staging the attack.

He previously posted $100,000 bail after being arrested and attending a bond hearing on Thursday, February 21.

Smollett has been suspended from his job on Empire for the rest of the season, pending the results of his criminal investigation. There has since been talk that his role of Jamal Lyon could be recast.

Photo credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

UPDATE (22/2/19): Empire star Jussie Smollett has been released from jail after posting bond, which a judge set at $100,000 during a bail hearing on Thursday (February 21).

On Wednesday, the actor was charged with a felony for filing a false police report and later turned himself in.

According to reports, Smollett returned to the set of Empire following the hearing, while his lawyers have said that they intend to mount a strong defence.

"Like any other citizen, Mr Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked," Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said in a statement.

UPDATE (20/2/19): Empire star Jussie Smollett has been charged with a felony for filing a false police report.

Chicago PD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi tweeted: "Felony criminal charges have been approved by @CookCountySAO against Jussie Smollett for Disorderly Conduct / Filing a False Police Report. Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest."

Hours earlier, Chicago police formally shifted their investigation, and called Smollett "a suspect". He is accused of misleading them in his original police report about his alleged attack.

Chicago PD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi tweeted: "Jussie Smollett is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by #ChicagoPolice for filing a false police report (Class 4 felony). Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury."

A spokesperson for the department also told People that the actor had been questioned by prosecutors from the Cook County District Attorney’s Office earlier in the day. He has previously said he was "angered and devastated" that anyone would think he made up the attack allegations.

Earlier on Wednesday, Smollett's bosses at Fox stood behind him and insisted he would not be written out of his role in Empire.

"Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show," 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said in a joint statement.

Photo credit: Fox

UPDATE (17/2/19): Empire star Jussie Smollett has said he is "angered and devastated" over recent developments in the investigation into an attack on him as he denies that he was involved in organising the attack in a statement through his lawyers.

The statement reads (via Variety): "As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with.

"He has now been further victimised by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying."

The statement continues to say that Jussie and his lawyers anticipate being "further updated" by the Chicago PD and will "continue to cooperate" in the investigation.

Smollett's response comes after the Chicago PD confirmed in a statement to EW that information learned from two people who were previously arrested and released without charge in relation to the attack has "shifted the trajectory of the investigation".

"We’ve reached out to the Empire cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview," the statement added.

Photo credit: Shareif Ziyadat - Getty Images

UPDATE (16/2/19): Two people who were arrested in connection with an attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett have been released without charge, it has now been confirmed.

Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi shared the development on Twitter in the early hours of Saturday morning (February 16), explaining that new evidence has been uncovered as the detectives continue their investigation into the attack.

"Due to new evidence as a result of today's interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete," Guglielmi tweeted.

UPDATE (15/2/19): Chicago police have arrested two persons of interest in connection with an attack on Empire star Jussie Smollett last month. However, no charges have been filed yet.

"Detectives have probable cause that they may have been involved in an alleged crime," Chicago PD PIO News Affairs official Sally Born told Deadline.

Earlier this week, Smollett condemned those who doubted that he was telling the truth about his attack during his first TV interview with Good Morning America.

"I'm pissed off. It's the attackers, but it's also the attacks," Jussie says while tearing up in the preview clip. "Like, you know, at first it was the thing of like, listen, if I tell the truth then that's it because it's the truth. Then it became a thing of, like, how can you doubt that? How can you not believe that? It's the truth.

"Then it became a thing of, like, it's not necessarily that you don't believe that this is the truth. You don't even want to see the truth."

UPDATE (31/1/19): Empire star Jussie Smollett's family have condemned his attack in Chicago as a "racial and homophobic hate crime" in their first public statement.

Investigators are still looking into two persons of interest in the case, but there have been no major breaks in solving it as yet. The actor told police he was assaulted by two men who screamed Donald Trump's 'Make America Great Again' slogan, before pouring an unknown chemical substance onto him and tying a noose around his neck.

In a joint statement today, Smollett's family said: "In the early hours of Tuesday morning, our beloved son and brother, Jussie, was the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack. We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime. Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice.

"Our family thanks everyone for their prayers and the huge amount of love he has received. We are thankful to our village for your immense support during this trying time. We are so grateful that God saw him through this cowardly attack alive. Jussie is a warrior whose light cannot be dimmed."

Photo credit: Rachel Luna - Getty Images

Their statement went on: "We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country. Oftentimes ending fatally, these are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such.

"They will continue to occur until we hold each other accountable. Make no mistake, words matter. Hateful words lead to hateful actions. Radical love is the only solution, but passivity will be our downfall. We, as a family, will continue to work for love, equity and justice until it reigns supreme in our nation and all over the world."

No arrests have been made in the case, and Chicago police said they have no plans yet to hold any other press briefings.

UPDATE (30/1/19): Empire star Jussie Smollett is receiving some heartwarming support from his on-screen parents Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard as he recovers from a horrific beating.

Chicago police are investigating what appears to be a racially-motivated and homophobic assault on the actor, which took place early Tuesday morning (January 29). His attackers beat and poured an unknown chemical substance onto Smollett, before fleeing.

Chicago PD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi tweeted on Wednesday that investigators had subsequently found surveillance footage offering leads on "potential persons of interest".

As Smollett recovers in a Chicago hospital, his Empire castmates are speaking out. Terrence Howard, who plays Smollett's father on Empire, said he believed his co-star would eventually find it in his heart to forgive his attackers.

"Jaws dropped to the ground [when we heard]," Howard recalled to Good Morning America. "And then when we learned that there had been letters sent to [network] Fox as threats about the potential of something like this, then we became much more frightened."

He went on: "I heard he's getting [better]. You know, he's angry but I know Jussie. Jussie's anger will dissipate and he will forgive these people for what they did. But he won't, and we cannot, forget their actions.

"They have to be forgiven because it was done out of ignorance."

Smollett's on-screen mother Taraji P. Henson wrote on Instagram that she wished "what happened to [her] baby was just one big bad joke", but that the world world was feeling "his pain".

"Hate will not win," she stressed.

Original: Empire actor Jussie Smollett has been hospitalised after a suspected racial and homophobic attack.

Jussie – who plays Jamal Lyon, the son of Cookie and Lucious Lyon on the drama series, and who spoke publicly about his sexuality in 2015 – was attacked early this morning (January 29), with Chicago police confirming to The Hollywood Reporter that the attack is being called a possible hate crime.

According to the Chicago Police Department's incident details, a 36-year-old man was walking when two unknown offenders approached him and shouted out racial and homophobic slurs (via ET Online).

Police say the offenders allegedly began to attack the victim about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance onto the victim, before fleeing the scene. The victim was later taken to hospital, where he is said to be in good condition.

Photo credit: Slaven Vlasic - Getty Images

"Overnight, the Chicago Police Department received a report of a possible racially-charged assault and battery involving a cast member of the television show Empire," Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement.

"Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime. Detectives are currently working to gather video, identify potential witnesses and establish an investigative timeline."

The statement continued: "The victim is fully cooperating with investigators and we ask anyone with information about this incident to contact Area Central Detectives at 312-747-8382 or report it anonymously to www.cpdtip.com."

Empire co-creator Danny Strong is among those to have shared their response to the attack online, saying he is "deeply horrified and saddened" by it.

"I’m deeply horrified and saddened by the racist and homophobic attacks against @JussieSmollett," Danny wrote.

"He is a kind and profoundly talented soul whom I respect with all my heart. The terror of racism and homophobia has no place in our society, it is the most indecent way to live...

"...whoever did this, do not forget that you are nothing but hate filled cowards while Jussie’s talent and activism will continue to shine a bright light on to the world for decades to come."

Several other of Jussie's Empire co-stars, friends and fans have also showed their support on social media, wishing the actor a speedy recovery:

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.

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