City of Chicago asks ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett to pay $130K for cost of investigation
E. JASON WAMBSGANS/AFP/Getty Images(CHICAGO) — The city of Chicago is seeking more than $130,000 from Empire actor Jussie Smollett to pay for the cost of the investigation in which he “falsely claimed” that two men attacked him.
The city asked for an “immediate payment” of $130,106.15 “in an attempt to resolve this matter without further legal action, according to a letter sent from the Chicago Department of Law to Smollett’s attorneys, which was obtained by ABC News. A cashier’s check made payable to the “City of Chicago” was requested to be paid by money order or certified cashier’s check within seven days.
If the fee is not paid in a”timely” manner, the Chicago Department of Law will prosecute Smollett for making the “false” Jan. 29 statement, the letter warned. The city will also impose a fine between $500 and $1,000 in addition to up to three times the amount of damages.
Charges against Smollett for felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report were dropped on Tuesday by Cook County prosecutors, which enraged Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. The FBI has now opened a review of the disposition of the case.
“The City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department take seriously those who make false statements to the police, thereby diverting resources from other investigations and undermining the criminal justice system,” the letter stated.
More than two dozen detectives and police officers participated in the “extensive” weeks-long investigation, which included reviewing video and physical evidence as well as conducting several interviews, according to the letter.
Smollett maintains his innocence, insisting outside of court on Tuesday that he has “been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”
Both police and prosecutors say they believe that Smollett is guilty of the crime.
Cook County first assistant state attorney Joe Magats told ABC Chicago station WLS Tuesday that the charges against Smollett were dropped in favor of an “alternate resolution” in order to focus resources on violent crimes, since it was a low-level felony, he had no criminal history. Smollett was required to perform community service and pay $10,000 to the City of Chicago. His attorneys asked that the case records be sealed, which was granted due to an Illinois statute that allows for it, Magats said.
Magats insisted that the decision was not an exoneration. When he was asked whether he believes Smollett fabricated the incident, the prosecutor replied, “yes.”
Emanuel described the announcement as a “whitewash of justice,” while Johnson said he does not believe justice was served.
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