Jussie Smollett’s legal team says the disgraced actor should not have to pay back the $130,000 cost of investigating his alleged hate crime because Chicago police shouldn’t have put so much effort into their investigation.
Smollett infamously claimed in January 2019 to be the victim of a racially and sexuality-motivated attack by two thugs who threatened him with a noose and an unknown chemical substance. In initial reports, the alleged assailants wore MAGA hats; later, Smollett denied identifying their headgear. When an investigation found no evidence of a real incident, police charged Smollett with filing a false police report for a staged incident.
When charges were dropped amid a storm of criticism, the city sought compensation for the cost of investigating the alleged hate crime hoax. (RELATED: Chicago Police Say ‘Empire’ Actor Refuses To Turn Over Phone Records)
Now Smollett’s lawyers are arguing that it wasn’t the actor’s fault that the police investigated his complaint with such vigor and at such expense, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday. They have filed a motion to that effect.
Smollett and his lawyers deny the actor fabricated the hate crime and continue to note that the 16 charges against him were dropped by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. In return, Smollett was asked to provide some community service and to forfeit his $10,000 bail bond. (RELATED: Police Chief ‘Furious’ At Smollett Case Dismissal)
“My client from the beginning has maintained his innocence and disputed the city’s allegations,” William J. Quinlan of The Quinlan Law Firm, told the Sun-Times. Quinlan, who filed the motion, said “it’s going to be very difficult for the city to prevail in making a case my client should pay for overtime for a case ultimately dismissed by the state’s attorney.
“It’s ridiculous and a stretch to require him to do so.”
Quinlan argues that even if the report was bogus, the city shouldn’t have assumed that Smollett would expect the police to begin an investigation and to conduct such a thorough one.
The legal brief, obtained by the Sun-Times, states that Smollett “disputes any and all assertions that he made a false statement and was not a victim of a crime.”
But even if Smollett did stage the incident, “The filing of a police report, in and of itself, does not necessitate a sprawling investigation nor does it, as a practical matter, usually result in an investigation as extensive as the one the CPD chose to undertake in this case,” the motion says.
The motion continues, saying that the city “has failed to allege that Mr. Smollett was similarly ‘well aware’ that his statements to police would result in 1,836 hours of police overtime, or any other reasons why he should have known this would have been the case.”