Disgraced actor Jussie Smollett is suing the city of Chicago for malicious prosecution, saying he was subjected to “humiliation and extreme distress” after having falsely claimed to be the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, lawyers for the ‘Empire’ actor also said that the Chicago police department “obtained false, self-serving and unreliable statements” from the Osundairo brothers – the two men Smollett paid to help with the hoax hate crime, who claim that the entire incident had been orchestrated by the actor.
Smollett’s attorneys say that investigators ignored “evidence that contradicted” the brothers’ statements and that this “played a significant role in the commencement of proceedings.”
The actor told police he was jumped by masked assailants, who punched him, doused him in bleach and even tied a noose around his neck, while hurling racial and homophobic abuse and making reference to President Donald Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan.
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He claimed the attack occurred while he was returning from a Chicago Subway sandwich shop at around 2 am. The incident initially provoked outrage and an outpouring of sympathy for Smollett.
Police later determined, however, that he had staged the entire thing as a publicity stunt, because he was unhappy with his salary and that he “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”
He was arrested and charged with filing a false police report, but the charges were dropped weeks later, provoking another wave of outrage and suggestions that his privileged position and celebrity status meant he was receiving softer treatment by authorities.
Smollett, who maintains that he is innocent, paid $10,000 after the criminal case against him was closed, but now says that payment should prevent the city from seeking further reimbursement from him. Chicago Police have ordered him to pay $130,000 to cover the cost of the investigation.
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