Chicago Files Lawsuit Against Jussie Smollett for Investigation Costs

The city of Chicago is suing television star Jussie Smollett, claiming the city spent more than $130,000 on overtime pay for police during the investigation of a hate crime that was allegedly staged. The city filed suit on Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court, The Chicago Tribune reported. In January, Smollett told Chicago police that he was attacked on a downtown Chicago street by two men wearing black masks who yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him. Smollett also accused the men of pouring chemicals on him, placing a rope around his neck, and saying the phrase “MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign slogan, The New York Times reported.

Authorities spent weeks investigating the case and concluded that Smollett had faked the attack, allegedly hiring two brothers to help him with his scheme, according to The Chicago Tribune. The lawsuit states that Smollett told officers that his attackers were white despite knowing that the two men — who have since been identified as the Osundairo brothers — are Black. The Osundairos allegedly told investigators the actor had paid them $3,500 to go along with the alleged fake attack, USA Today reported.

“[Smollett] made this statement despite knowing that the Osundairo brothers are not white-skinned,” the lawsuit stated. “By providing this false description, [Smollett] purposely misled the CPD officers to believe that his attackers were white, when, in fact, [Smollett] knew that his attackers were the Osundairo brothers.”

Smollett, 36, was arrested in February and indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct, but prosecutors dropped the charges last month, according to The New York Times. While charges against the “Empire” actor were dropped, prosecutors said it “didn’t exonerate him.” Smollett served two days of community service and posted $10,000 bond to get out of jail, according to The Chicago Tribune.

The lawsuit noted that the city ended up spending “$130,106.15 in overtime pay as a result of [Smollett’s] false statements.” More than two dozen CPD officers and detectives worked on the Smollett investigation, the lawsuit obtained by The Chicago Tribune alleged.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said authorities in Chicago worked “countless hours” to get to the bottom of the attack, The Times reported. Those on the clock worked 1,836 overtime hours.

“Our officers did hard work, day in and day out, countless hours, working to unwind what actually happened that night,” Emanuel said last month, according to The New York Times. “The city saw its reputation dragged through the mud.” On Friday, Kimberly Foxx, the city’s top prosecutor, requested the Cook County Inspector General to investigate how her office handled Smollett’s case, NBC News reported. Foxx called for the investigation after she was criticized for dropping the charges against Smollett.

“A former prosecutor, Inspector General [Patrick] Blanchard has been conducting independent inquiries for Cook County for over a decade,” Foxx said in a statement to NBC News. “Ensuring that I and my office have the community’s trust and confidence is paramount to me, which is why I invited an independent review of this matter. I welcome this investigation and pledge my full cooperation and the cooperation of my office as IG Blanchard conducts his review.”

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.