BREAKING: Judge Allows Chicago Suit Against Jussie Smollett To Proceed
A federal judge in Chicago on Tuesday refused to dismiss the city’s lawsuit against actor Jussie Smollett, who claimed he was attacked by two white men in a hate crime.
U.S. District Virginia Kendall’s ruling will allow the city’s lawsuit to try to recoup $130,000 the police department spent trying to get to the bottom of Smollett’s claims.
Smollett’s lawyers argued that their client should not be forced to reimburse the city because he could not have known how much time and money police would spend investigating.
Chicago police say their probe into the allegations that Smollett suffered a racist and homophobic attack that forced officers to file for nearly 1,900 hours of overtime. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”
Earlier this month, Abel and Ola Osundair, the two Nigerian brothers who were accused of attacking Smollett in a hate-crime hoax, met quietly with a special prosecutor, TMZ reported.
“Sources close to the case tell TMZ [that] Abel and Ola [Osundairo] met with Dan Webb’s team this week because the special prosecutor wanted to hear their full story — their version of Jussie’s alleged attack. … Our sources say the brothers each spent a couple hours with the special prosecutor’s team,” TMZ said.
The brothers were held by police and interrogated soon after the alleged attack took place in January, but they were quickly released as police shifted their attention to Smollett’s involvement in allegedly staging the attack.
The actor told police that the main attacker “was wearing a ski mask that covered his entire face, with the exception of the area around his eyes, by which [Smollett] could tell the attacker was white-skinned,” according to a lawsuit against Smollett filed by the city of Chicago. Smollettt, who is black, allegedly hired the brothers, who also are black, to attack him in a hate hoax crime.
To bolster his claim that the attackers were white, Smollett said the two men yelled racist and homophobic remarks, at one point invoking President Trump’s signature slogan, “Make America Great Again” by saying, “This is MAGA country.”
That story quickly fell apart.
A Chicago grand jury indicted Smollett in March on 16 felony counts that he allegedly lied to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime. Those charges came after he was arrested in February and charged with felony disorderly conduct for the allegedly false police report.
But the Cook County, Illinois state attorney’s office last month suddenly dropped all charges and sealed the case. “After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” the office said in a statement.
Smollett’s lawyers claimed victory, saying in a statement that the actor “was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgement.”
“Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions. This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result,” the lawyers said.