Jussie Smollett’s lawyers have filed a counterclaim against the city of Chicago, which is seeking to recover more than $130,000 in costs related to its investigation of the former “Empire” actor’s claims that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
The city is suing Smollett for $130,106 after police determined Smollett’s claims were a hoax.
While Smollett’s attorneys wanted the suit dismissed, U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall said last month that the lawsuit “will be going forward.”
Then on Tuesday, Smollett’s lawyers filed a 49-page response to the city’s lawsuit against him.
The response includes a counterclaim alleging the city prosecuted him in such a way that caused “humiliation, mental anguish and extreme emotional distress,” as well as financial harm, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Smollett was charged in March with 16 counts of making a false report, but the charges were abruptly dropped.
The criminal case against the actor ended “in Mr. Smollett’s favor and in a manner which indicates his innocence because all 16 counts of the criminal indictment were dismissed two and a half weeks after the indictment was filed,” the counterclaim reads.
“Smollett’s counterclaim targets the city, the Chicago Police Department, Detectives Michael Theis and Edward Wodnicki, Supt. Eddie Johnson and Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, along with other unnamed individuals,” the Sun-Times reported.
The Osundairo brothers have claimed they were paid to stage the attack on Smollett, which included putting a noose around his neck and pouring bleach on him.
But according to Smollett’s attorneys, the brothers made “false, self-serving, and unreliable statements in order to close the investigation into the attack on Mr. Smollett.”
Smollett takes particular issue with the Chicago Police Department, with his lawyers alleging police “disseminated false and misleading information about the investigation and the evidence to the media, painting a false picture of the incident and causing public disbelief” of Smollett’s story, The Hill reported.
According to the actor, the city’s actions in charging and prosecuting him violated his “constitutional” rights.
“Defendants knew or should have known that no probable cause existed to prosecute Mr. Smollett, based [sic] the facts known at the time,” his counterclaim reads, according to The Wrap.
“Under the circumstances, it was obvious that prosecuting Mr. Smollett without probable cause would result in the violation of his constitutional and legal rights.”
While the city wants Smollett to pay them $130,000, the actor says that since — as part of his plea deal — he agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond payment, he doesn’t owe any additional money.
That $10,000 was accepted “as payment in full in connection with the dismissal of the charges against him,” Smollett’s attorneys wrote.
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