Chicago officials weren't bluffing.
On Thursday, the city filed a civil lawsuit against Jussie Smollett, accusing the actor of refusing to pay a $130,000 reimbursement. The City of Chicago claims officials spent six figures investigating an alleged hate crime hoax orchestrated by the Empire star. At the end of March, the Chicago Corporation Counsel demanded Smollett pay the $130,000 to cover the costs incurred during the probe, including overtime pay for officers. The counsel also threatened to take legal action if Smollett did not cough up the dough within seven days.
Smollett's attorney Mark Geragos insisted his client would "not be intimidated into paying the demanded sum." So, the city pursued the lawsuit.
"Mr. Smollett has refused to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on January 29, 2019," a spokesperson for the City said, per TMZ. "The Law Department is now drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Once it is filed, the Law Department will send a courtesy copy of the complaint to Mr. Smollett's L.A. based legal team."
According to the Associated Press, lawyers for the City of Chicago filed the lawsuit in a Cook County court, more than two weeks after prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against Smollett. The actor was arrested back in February and charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.
The charges stem from a January incident in which Smollett told police he had been attacked by two masked white men in the streets of Chicago. Smollett claimed the perpetrators tied a noose around his neck and poured a liquid substance on him, before shouting, "This is MAGA country."
Chicago law enforcement began investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. But shortly after the investigation launched, authorities said they noticed discrepancies in Smollett's account. They concluded Smollett had staged the attack based on interviews with witnesses and video evidence, as well as phone and bank records.
Stay tuned as more information about the case becomes available.