Judge denies Jussie Smollett’s request to dismiss $130K lawsuit
The City of Chicago is seeking an additional $260,000.
According to Variety, Jussie Smollett’s request to dismiss the lawsuit filed against him by the City of Chicago has been denied. Judge Virginia M. Kendall is proceeding with the city’s case against the former “Empire” actor, seeking $130,000 in police overtime costs and $260,000 in damages. Judge Kendall also faulted Smollett’s attorneys for its “attempts to muddy the waters with irrelevant arguments.”
Back in January, Smollett reported a homophobic and racially-motived assault to the Chicago Police Department. After an extensive investigation, officers concluded that Smollett had staged the attack. Smollett was later indicted on 16 counts of filing a false police report, which were later dismissed by the State’s Attorney’s Office.
In the ongoing lawsuit, the City of Chicago is suing the actor, claiming that he is responsible for paying for the investigation under the city’s False Statements Ordinance. Smollett’s attorney argues that the city is attempting to improperly relitigate a case that has already been dismissed in criminal court and says that Smollett could not have foreseen the extensive police response to his report.
In Kendall’s recent ruling, the judge held that the intensive investigation was foreseeable to Smollett, given the nature of his allegations.
“The natural, ordinary and reasonable consequence of a police report like this one — a racist, homophobic physical assault in which masked attackers invoked the President of the United States’ official campaign slogan — is an intensive, sprawling investigation like the one that took place,” Judge Kendall wrote. “Smollett contends that police overtime pay is not ‘foreseeable in the normal course of events,’ but this is hardly the normal course of events — most crime victims, for instance, do not have the opportunity to discuss the crime on ‘Good Morning America.’ The allegations were taken seriously by the Chicago Police Department in significant part due to the high profile of the claimant and the extreme nature of the accusations.”
Despite rumors that Smollett would be returning to “Empire,” director Lee Daniels confirmed that the 37-year-old actor will not appear in the show’s sixth and final season.
Moving forward with the case, the City of Chicago must prove its allegations either in a summary judgment motion or at trial. Smollett has continued to claim his innocence.