On Friday, the City of Chicago stated it will “continue to pursue” its lawsuit against Jussie Smollett for the estimated $130,000 it cost the police department to investigate his false claims of being a hate crime victim.
Jussie Smollett was found guilty on five counts of disorderly conduct in the trial related to him staging the hate crime (Forbes). The city’s lawsuit comes after Smollett refused to send the city $130,106 for the overtime effort put in by the Chicago police department to investigate his case (Associated Press).
The lawsuit doesn’t specify the total amount the city is seeking, but does include over $390,000 plus “further relief as this Court deems just and equitable” while also making Smollett responsible for any legal fees the city encounters through the process of suing him. Smollett’s legal team will be responding to the court filing and move to have the lawsuit thrown out, according to a spokeswoman.
While Smollett still maintains his innocence in the incident, his lawyers have accused the city of trying to “harass” Smollett. They claim the dismissal of the charges early on in the case as admission of his innocence. However, the current lawsuit, unless settlements are made between the two parties beforehand, will go before a jury.
In civil court, evidence from his criminal trial could be unsealed and used against Smollett. Additionally, the threshold of proof will be lower in civil court, as the city will only have to show that it’s more than likely true that he lied. With this lawsuit the city is accepting the risk of legal costs adding up to a higher amount than they would receive from Smollett. The public is also asking for a better explanation for why this lawsuit was dropped originally.