Smollett, accused of faking a hate crime against himself, maintains his evidence in spite of a mountain of evidence against him.
Chicago is continuing its lawsuit against former ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett.
Smollett, says USA Today, is being asked to pay a six-figure civil fine for wasting police time and city resources. The 37-year old actor, who is multiracial, allegedly staged a fake hate crime against himself last year, claiming to have been viciously beaten by white men wearing “Make America Great Again” hats.
An intensive investigation found that some elements of Smollett’s story didn’t add up. A pair of Nigerian brothers later confessed to having been paid by Smollett to stage the crime, which culminated in them draping a noose around the actor’s neck.
While a Chicago prosecutor made a controversial decision not to bring significant charges against Smollett, the city is holding him liable for the investigation’s costs. Smollett has since asked a federal judge to dismiss Chicago’s lawsuit against him.
But on Tuesday, a court refused Smollett’s request, telling him a violent, elaborate hoax had predictable consequences. Smollett had previously said that the men who’d allegedly attacked him yelled racist and homophobic slurs throughout the assault.
In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall said that “it isn’t unreasonable to think” city police would’ve made a strong, concerned effort to investigate a brutal hate crime. Kendall also suggested that Smollett’s celebrity, coupled with Chicago’s “volatile” character, all but assured the case significant public exposure and expenditure.
Nevertheless, Smollett’s lawyer, William Quinlan, said the set-back isn’t significant. He told USA Today that the ruling simply means that the case “will be decided on the facts and not the pleadings.” Quinlan added that getting a case dismissed simply based off pleadings isn’t often an easy feat.
“The pleadings are just the city’s side of the story. Now, Mr. Smollett will get to present his side of the case,” Quinlan said. “Mr. Smollett has always maintained his innocence and is eager to have the complete facts of the case come out. He looks forward to taking depositions and otherwise bringing to light many of the facts that have been overlooked in the court of public opinion to date.”
“Mr. Smollett,” Quinlan continued, “is confident that once the full story is available he will be vindicated.”
On social media, Smollett, too, has maintained his innocence, emphasizing his story’s constancy.
“With all due respect, brother,” Smollett wrote on Instagram, “y’all can clown me all you want but my story has actually never changed and I haven’t lied about a thing.
“Y’all can continue to be misinformed, internalized sheep, who believe what actual proven liars feed you or you can read the actual docs,” he continued. “Either way, Imma [sic] be alright. I know me and what happened. You don’t. So carry on. All Love.”
Smollett, adds USA Today, lost his part on ‘Empire’ shortly after the hoax broke.
While Chicago is only seeking the $130,000 it says it spent on investigation the actor’s claim, the municipal code its lawsuit is filed under means that the city could claim up to three times the amount of damages it sustained.