Embattled former TV actor Jussie Smollett is now using the ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd as he continues his fight against the city of Chicago.
Smollett, who is gay and black, was charged earlier this year with multiple felony counts stemming from an alleged hate crime attack hoax he staged against himself, according to Chicago police.
The new charges were filed in February after similar charges were dropped last year.
In his defense, the actor is now linking the Floyd protests to his case by invoking a nationwide conversation about racial disparities and police misconduct.
Fox News reported that the actor filed a motion on Friday demanding documents containing information about the 2019 firing of former Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who was involved in the investigation into Smollett’s alleged hoax and was highly critical of him publicly.
“As we see millions across the country rise up to protest and expose police misconduct, the city, by its refusal to produce the requested documents, is choosing to actively resist a citizen’s lawful efforts to reveal dishonesty, directly relating to the charges against him, throughout the department, including the police superintendent who oversaw and publicly commented on the investigation of Mr. Smollett’s report of a vicious hate crime and assault,” the motion, which was obtained by Fox, read.
“Indeed, the city’s opposition to the motion to compel puts the cart before the horse and largely fails to appreciate that this case remains in the discovery phase.
“Allegations are not proven facts, but the city improperly assumes that it has already proven that Mr. Smollett made false statements to the CPD,” the Smollett filing went on.
Johnson, who himself is black, was publicly angry after Smollet claimed in 2019 that he was assaulted, draped with a noose and berated with racist and homophonic slurs by supporters of President Donald Trump.
“I know the racial divide that exists here. I know how hard it’s been for our city and our nation to come together. And I also know the disparities and I know the history,” Johnson said of the former “Empire” star, according to The Associated Press.
Johnson added that Smollett “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”
“Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?” Johnson said. “How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile? How can an individual who’s been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?”
According to Fox News, Smollett is also being asked to reimburse the Chicago Police Department for $130,000 over the investigation of the alleged hoax attack.
The investigation ultimately cost taxpayers almost $500,000.
Johnson, who served as the Chicago Police Superintendent for three years, was fired by newly elected mayor Lori Lightfoot in December.
Commenting on Johnson’s termination, Lightfoot cited “a series of ethical lapses,” after Johnson reportedly fell asleep in his patrol car.
Johnson had been with the department since 1988 and was fired two weeks before his retirement, NBC News reported.
Chicago’s former top cop contended that Smollett hired two African brothers to assault him so that the actor could blame the attack on white Trump supporters and advance his career goals.
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