Chicago Warns Jussie Smollett: Repay $130,000 in 7 Days or Face Prosecution for Lying

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Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP

The City of Chicago on Thursday warned Empire actor Jussie Smollett that he could be prosecuted for lying if he fails to repay the six-figure cost of the Chicago Police Department’s investigation into his alleged hate hoax in the next seven days.

In a letter written by Edward Siskel, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s senior legal adviser, Smollett is accused of making “false statements,” which led law enforcement to divert “resources from other investigations and undermining the criminal justice system.”

Jussie Smollett reiterated Tuesday that he was innocent of staging a racist and homophobic attack against himself in downtown Chicago after the Cook County State’s Attorney’s surprise decision to drop 16 charges against the actor for filing a false police report on the incident. Speaking outside a Chicago courtroom, he maintained he had been “truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”

Siskel’s letter, which was sent to the office of Smollet’s attorney, Patricia Brown Holmes, states that “Chicago police investigation revealed that [Smollett] knowingly filed a false police report and had in fact orchestrated your own attack.” Further, Smollett is requested to issue an “immediate payment of the $130,160.15 expended on overtime hours in the investigation of this matter,” to be made within one week.

The letter continues that if the actor doesn’t resolve the amount owed to the City of Chicago Corporate Counsel, he could be prosecuted by the Department of Law and slapped with a fine of up to $1,000, “plus up to three times the amount of damages the city sustains as a result of the violation.”

City officials say at least $150,000 was spent on the case.

On Tuesday, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office announced it was dropping all charges against Smollett “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.”

Police charge Smollett, who is African-American and gay, paid two brothers — Abel and Ola Osundairo — to stage the January 29th attack in downtown Chicago in an attempt to boost his career. Smollett told detectives his assailants wore masks as they hurled insults, lopped a thin rope around his neck and doused him with an unknown liquid. He also said the attackers shouted “This is MAGA country,” a reference to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan, before fleeing the scene.

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