Another day, another Jussie Smollett story, as the former “Empire” actor’s saga continues. This week, a federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the City of Chicago, which wants Smollett to pay for investigative costs from his alleged January attack, which they say he made up, reports Out magazine.
Smollett filed a police report earlier this year claiming that he’d been assaulted on the street by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him, before pouring bleach on him. He also said the assailants invoked President Donald Trump’s dog whistle campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” The Chicago Police Department says they engaged in an intense investigation, ultimately concluding that Smollett staged and orchestrated the attack himself.
Smollett was indicted on 16 criminal counts of filing a false police report, but those charges were suddenly dismissed by the state’s Attorney General, a controversial move that does not legally mean Smollett is not guilty. Still, Smollett has maintained his innocence “since day one,” the actor said during a press conference at the time.
The city of Chicago sued Smollett in response, arguing that he should pay for the investigation under the city’s False Statements Ordinance. That equates to $130,000 in police overtime costs and $260,000 in damages. Smollett’s representation has said the city is attempting to relitigate the already dismissed case, now in civil court.
U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall of the Northern District of Illinois denied Smollett’s efforts to have the case dismissed. His team argued there’s no way Smollett could have foreseen the police response to his initial report. The judge faulted Smollett’s attorneys for their “attempts to muddy the waters with irrelevant arguments.”