Jussie Smollett Wants Chicago’s Lawsuit Moved to Federal Court

Actor Jussie Smollett has asked the city of Chicago to move the lawsuit filed against him in state court to federal court.The motion was filed on July 3, with Smollett’s lawyers arguing that he is a resident of California and only lived in Chicago to film the TV show, “Empire,” USA Today reported. The request comes two months after the city of Chicago sued Smollett for the cost of an investigation into whether the actor was allegedly the victim of a homophobic and racist attack in downtown Chicago in January.

Smollet, 37, told Chicago police back in January that he was attacked on a street in downtown Chicago by two white men who yelled anti-gay and racist slurs at him, The New York Times previously reported. He told police at the time of the investigation that the men poured a chemical on him and placed a rope around his neck while shouting “MAGA country,” according to the publication.In the lawsuit obtained by the Chicago Tribune and filed in Cook County Circuit court by authorities in April, the City of Chicago stated they spent weeks trying to get to the bottom of the case. Police concluded that the “Empire” actor had faked the whole attack and allegedly hired the Osundairo brothers to execute his plan, the Chicago Sun Times reported. The brothers, who are Black, allegedly told authorities that Smollett had paid them $3,500 to follow through with the attack, USA Today previously 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 was arrested in February and charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct. However, prosecutors dropped the charges against the actor in March, according to The New York Times. After the charges were dropped, the actor’s attorney Tina Glandian said in a March interview with Good Morning America that Smollett has not had time to heal from the alleged attack “because he's been dealing with everything that's happened since then." “For Jussie, what's really important is he really just wants his career and his life back… he did not ask for any of this. He was a victim of a crime. This has completely spiraled out of control and become a political event at this point," Glandian said. "His goal and focus right now is just getting his life back on track."

Prosecutors said that the dropped charges against Smollett “didn’t exonerate him.” He served two days of community service in addition to posting a $10,000 bond to get out of jail, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.“The lawsuit obtained by the publication and filed by the city stated that the city spent “$130,106.15 in overtime pay as a result of [Smollett’s] false statements.”

The city is now asking for recompensation and still believes the attack was staged.

“Our officers did hard work, day in and day out, countless hours, working to unwind what actually happened that night,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel previously said, according to The New York Times. “The city saw its reputation dragged through the mud.”In May, the Fox network issued a statement that Smollett would not come back to the show “Empire,” E! News previously reported.

"By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett's option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to Empire," the network said.The TV show’s co-creator, Lee Daniels, said in an interview with Vulture last month that he had stopped communicating with Smollett. When he first heard that the attack was staged, he told the publication that he was “beyond embarrassed” because he initially supported him. Daniels said the attack brought him back to his childhood when he was bullied and beaten.

"I had to detach myself and stop calling him, because it was taking away the time I have for my kids, the time I have for my partner. It was affecting my spirit and other shows, everything," Daniels told the publication.

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.