Last week, the State’s Attorney’s office in Cook County dropped the felony charges against Jussie Smollett for allegedly pulling off a fake racist and homophobic attack.

A few days later, Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked Chicago’s Law Department to send Smollett a letter that demanded he pay back the city $138,000 to cover the costs of the investigation.

From CBS Chicago:

The March 28 letter said, if Smollett does not pay within seven days, the city could prosecute him for making a false statement, and take him to civil court to seek up to three times that amount as damages, plus court costs and attorney’s fees.

“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,” Smollett’s defense team said in a statement the day the city sent that letter.

If the city moves forward with a civil lawsuit against Smollett, the standards for proving he staged the January attack would be lower than in criminal court. While a criminal trial requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction, a civil trial would require the city to prove only that a “preponderance of evidence” – meaning it’s more likely true than not – that the incident was a hoax orchestrated by Smollett.

The letter stated that the police department “conducted an extensive investigation into” Smollett’s report that two white men attacked him on January 29 “while yelling racial and homophobic slurs.” The Department of Law reminded Smollett that the police department used “[O]ver two dozen detectives and police officers” to investigate the claims and many of them accumulated “a substantial number of overtime hours.”

The investigation meant the “Chicago police reviewed video and physical evidence and conducted several interviews, expending resources that could have been used for other investigations.” The police concluded that Smollett “knowingly filed a false police report and had in fact orchestrated” the attack.”

If Smollett does not pay the $130,000 today, the Department of Law may prosecute him “for making a false statement.” If this happens, Smollett faces “a fine of not less than $500.00 and a maximum of $1,000.00, plus up to three (3) times the amount of damages the City sustains as a result of the violation.” This includes seeking “to recover court costs, collection costs, and attorney’s fees.”

Smollett’s attorneys demanded Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson apologize to the actor “for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud.”

Emanuel and Johnson tore into Smollett at an epic press conference after the prosecutors dropped the charges. Emanuel told the press that since “he doesn’t feel any sense of contrition and remorse, my recommendation is when he writes check in the memo section [of the check], he can put the word ‘I’m accountable for the hoax.'”

I will update this post if Smollett pays today.


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