Prosecutors may have dropped all charges against Jussie Smollett earlier this week but he's still facing legal action, according to recent reports.
On Friday (March 29), TMZ reported that the city of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department have reached out to the "Empire" star seeking a $130k in restitution for the cost of their investigation into his alleged hate crime. According to the report, evidence found in the investigation proves Smollett lied to law enforcement and staged the Jan. 29 attack. The department wants to be reimbursed for the "overtime" put into the case while the city of Chicago wants a public apology from the actor.
Smollett's attorney, Patricia Holmes, released a statement in response to the request saying, "[Local] authorities have continued their campaign against Jussie Smollett after the charges against him have been dropped. The case is closed. No public official has the right to violate Mr. Smollett's due process rights."
While noting that Smollett is "innocent until proven guilty in the court of law," Holmes stated, "We respectfully request all government agencies involved live up to the ethical tenets of their office ... The case was dismissed. We should all allow Mr. Smollett to move on with his life as a free citizen."
Apparently, Holmes response wasn't sufficient enough for the city of Chicago, and now the 36-year-old will likely face a civil lawsuit at Mayor Rahm Emanuel's request. If a judge finds that Smollett did indeed fake the attack, he could end up paying $390,000, nearly triple the amount of what local authorities are currently requesting, TMZ reports.
This would also spell bad news for Smollett as it could potentially give showrunners over at "Empire" leverage to cut him from the show. While his case has reportedly put the show's fate in jeopardy at Fox, the creators could cite the judge's ruling as proof Smollett is a liability, as the site explains.
There's also the possibility of Smollett refusing to pay back any money at all, even if he loses the civil case. But, as TMZ notes, his checks would be garnished, and, yes, that includes his "Empire" wages. The strategic move is being viewed by many fans as an unfair punishment after the decision was made to drop the charges against Smollett.
President Trump has also weighed in on the ordeal, calling it "an embarrassment to our nation" on Thursday (March 28). Trump also tweeted that the FBI and Department of Justice will review the case, which drew bipartisan criticism.