Jussie Smollett, the Empire actor accused of fabricating a hate crime against himself to boost his profile, has been sued by the City of Chicago for funds used on the police investigation into his allegation.
Despite prosecutors dropping all criminal charges against the actor last month in exchange for his bond and two days of community service, the Chicago Police Department maintained its belief Smollett was liable for the money spent chasing up what they determined was a fraudulent incident.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports lawyers for the city gave Smollett a week to repay the roughly AUD $180,000 (USD $ 130,000) spent on overtime during the investigation. That deadline came and went, prompting the city to issue the lawsuit.
The case against Smollett was dropped after a determination by State Attorney Kim Foxx that the “likelihood of securing a conviction was not certain.” If the civil suit goes to trial, the burden of proof will be significantly lower than at a criminal trial – and Smollett could have to testify regarding evidence Chicago Police Department believes could prove his guilt.
Smollett maintains the attack did occur, and did not admit any guilt to have the charges dropped.
The lawsuit is the latest turn in a case which has divided Smollett’s supporters and sparked intense discussions in the entertainment industry.