Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday he plans to have the city’s Law Department bill “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett for the costs of the Chicago Police Department investigation that determined he was lying about being the victim of a hate crime in January.
The City of Chicago on Thursday March 28, 2019 announced the calculated the cost of the investigation into the alleged hate crime against actor Jussie Smollett that resulted in the discovery of an alleged hoax carried out by Jussie Smollett, and demanded that Smollett pay the City of Chicago $130,106.15.
A letter was addressed to “Mr. Smollett” and sent to to Smollett’s attorney Patricia Brown Holme’s office (Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP) describes that the Chicago Police Department conducted an extensive investigation into the hate crime report and assigned over two dozen detectives and police officers to the investigation. The letter described “ultimately spending weeks investigating the false claims, including a substantial number of overtime hours.” The letter is signed by Edward N. Siskel, Corporation Counsel, City of Chicago.
The city threatened to take legal action under the municipal code of Chicago if the actor did not pay up.
In the letter from the Chicago Corporation Counsel sent to Smollett’s lawyers, it also stated the total cost of the overtime the Chicago Police logged to investigate the crime was considerably more than the $10,000 Smollett agreed to forfeit after charges against him for allegedly staging the attack on January 29 were dropped Tuesday.
“If the amount is not timely paid, the Department of Law may prosecute you [Mr. Smollett] for making a false statement to the City under section 1-21-010 of the Municipal Code of Chicago or pursue any other legal remedy available at law. A violation of the false statement ordinance imposes a fine of not less than $500 and a maximum of $1,000, plus up to three times the amount of damages the City sustains as a result of the violation. The City may also seek to recover court costs, collection costs, and attorney’s fees.”
The alleged hate hoax crime occurred on January 29, 2019 when Smollett told police he was attacked while walking from a Subway sandwich shop to his Streeterville home. Smollett said he was attacked by two white men wearing red baseball hats resembling red MAGA hat that were shouting “this is MAGA country” and also racial and homophobic slurs at him. Smollett alleged the attackers poured bleach on him and put a noose around his neck. The Chicago police investigation led to two brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, supported by their witness account of the hoax and their capture on video that placed them at the scene of the hoax crime on January 29, 2019 and showed them buying rope at a hardware store, which was outlined in a detailed bond proffer.
Police later concluded the attack reported by Smollett was all a hoax, and Smollett was charged with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct. Those charges were suddenly dropped Tuesday, March 26, 2019 by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office. Foxx and her top assistant Joe Magats said they believed Smollett was guilty but said they were offering him an alternative sentence, in which he was required to forfeit the $10,000 bond to the city and apply 18 hours of community service that he served.
Smollett and his attorneys have claimed in interviews since the announcement of the alternative sentence that the fact the charges were dropped proves his innocence.
Smollett’s defense have described the ordeal, saying, “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.”
"Given that he doesn't feel any sense of contrition and remorse, my recommendation is that when he writes the check, in the memo section, he can put the words, 'I'm accountable for the hoax,'" Mayor Rahm Emanuel said of Smollett earlier Thursday. https://t.co/6qfp2uwSjN
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) March 28, 2019
Chicago is seeking $130,000 from "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, official says https://t.co/hrOLioWtcB pic.twitter.com/HzOsQMybnL
— NBC Chicago (@nbcchicago) March 28, 2019
BREAKING: The city on Thursday laid out the cost of the investigation into the alleged hate crime against actor Jussie Smollett and demanded the “Empire” star pay pay the city $130,000. https://t.co/IWCIoJ33Qu
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) March 28, 2019
The city of Chicago is now demanding #JussieSmollett repay the city in excess of $130,000 spent on the investigation of what they call a false police report. pic.twitter.com/tg3isA2YWV
— Linsey Davis (@LinseyDavis) March 28, 2019
^^ MOBILE? USE VOICE MIC ^^
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FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2019
What happens when Donald Trump calls in the FBI and DOJ to look at Jussie Smollett's embarrassing case? Michael Avenatti is expecting Nike execs to end up in big big trouble. pic.twitter.com/n2TjKRyeqD
— TMZ (@TMZ) March 28, 2019
#JussieSmollett case will not be expunged because in order to do that it would have to be unsealed, is what I’m being told. #Smollett attorney says, “We support the court files being preserved. We have not and will not file a motion for destruction of any records in this case."
— Rafer Weigel (@RaferWeigel) March 28, 2019
Illinois state senator proposes withholding tax credits to any production that hires Jussie Smollett https://t.co/STrOG3F9X9 pic.twitter.com/2oVtxjUBNt
— The Hill (@thehill) March 28, 2019