Chicago sues actor Jussie Smollett for police costs

FILE PHOTO: Actor Jussie Smollett leaves court after charges against him were dropped by state prosecutors in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

(Reuters) – The city of Chicago filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Jussie Smollett, saying the actor owes it over $130,000 for police costs incurred in the investigation of a hate crime that authorities allege was phony, according to legal documents.

The lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court over two weeks after prosecutors in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dismissed all criminal charges against the “Empire” actor.

Chicago officials previously said they would sue Smollett after he refused a demand by the city for $130,000 to cover police overtime costs.

The actor’s criminal defense attorney, Mark Geragos, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Smollett, 36, who is black and gay, ignited a firestorm on social media by telling police on Jan. 29 that two apparent supporters of President Donald Trump struck him, put a noose around his neck and poured bleach over him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs on a Chicago street.

After weeks of investigation, Chicago police determined that Smollett cooked up the scheme — in which they allege he hired two brothers to pose as his attackers — because he was dissatisfied with his salary on “Empire.”

Smollett, best known for his role on the Twentieth Century Fox Television hip-hop drama, has said he has always been truthful about the incident.

He was charged in February with staging the incident and filing a false police report.

Reporting by Andrew Hay in New Mexico; Additional reporting by Karen Pierog in Chicago; Editing by Peter Cooney

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