CHICAGO (AP) — The City of Chicago says Jussie Smollett has refused to pay more than $130,000 to reimburse costs of investigating what authorities say was a staged racist, anti-gay attack.
The city’s law department also says in a statement Thursday that it would be drafting a lawsuit in response and would sue the “Empire” actor in Cook County Civil Court. The city “will file the suit in the near future.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s law chief sent Smollett a March 28 letter demanding the “Empire” actor pay $130,106 —plus 15 cents— within seven days.
A suit could lead to a drawn out battle in civil court that could end in a trial focused on the question of whether Smollett did or didn’t orchestrate the Jan. 29 attack.
Smollett, who is black and gay, maintains he has told the truth since reporting to police that two masked men assaulted him, shouting slurs and wrapping a rope around his neck.
A group of suburban Chicago police chiefs are calling on Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to resign in the wake of her office’s decision to drop charges against Jussie Smollett that accused him of staging a racist, anti-gay attack.
Some 30 police chiefs attended a joint news conference Thursday with the Chicago police union president, Kevin Graham, to support that call.
Steven Stelter, of the West Suburban Chiefs of Police Association, told reporters it wasn’t only about her handling of Smollett’s case. He also pointed to broader Foxx policies to not prosecute many lower-level felonies. He said residents needed to know Foxx “is letting them down.”
Asked why there were no African-American police chiefs at the event, Graham said only that all county police chiefs had been invited. The county includes Chicago and more than 130 other communities.
Foxx’s office told WLS-TV earlier that the chiefs’ criticism was “an excuse to justify” resistance to reform.
Suburban Chicago police associations have added their criticism to how the Cook County state’s attorney handled charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett that accused him of staging a racist, anti-gay attack.
Chicago’s WLS-TV reports three groups representing police chiefs voted to express “no confidence” in Kim Foxx. Several police chiefs were set to attend a joint news conference with Chicago police union leaders later Thursday.
Foxx recused herself before Smollett was charged. But she defended a decision by her office last week to drop all 16 felony counts against Smollett, saying money was better spent on more serious crimes.
WLS cited a letter from the North Suburban Chiefs of Police saying Foxx displayed a tendency to not pursue prosecutions of lower-level felonies.
Foxx’s office told WLS the criticism was “an excuse to justify” wider resistance to “prioritizing resources to increase public safety and reduce harm.”
A deadline is looming for Jussie Smollett to pay more than $130,000 to Chicago for investigative costs into what city authorities say was a staged racist, anti-gay attack or risk getting slapped with a civil lawsuit.
Thursday is seven days since Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s law chief sent the “Empire” actor a letter demanding the payment. The March 28 letter said he must pay within seven days but didn’t specify a response if he didn’t.
Nonpayment will likely prompt the city to sue Smollett, prompting a civil trial where standards for proving he staged the incident will be lower than in criminal court.
Chicago sent the letter after state prosecutors dropped criminal charges accusing Smollett of orchestrating the attack.
Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot could reverse any legal action after she’s sworn in May 20.
Check out the AP’s complete coverage of the Jussie Smollett case.