You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jussie Smollett Will Not Be ‘Intimidated’ Into Paying for Probe, Attorney Says

Jussie Smollett’s attorney sent a defiant letter to the City of Chicago on Thursday evening, saying the “Empire” actor will not be “intimidated” into paying for the investigation of his alleged hate crime.

The city has said it intends to sue Smollett to recoup the $130,000 in police overtime costs arising from the incident, which Smollett is accused of staging. Smollett was initially indicted on 16 counts of filing a false police report, but the charges were dropped suddenly last week.

In his letter to the city, attorney Mark Geragos said that Smollett maintains his innocence, and that it would be both unprecedented and unconstitutional for the city to pursue him in civil court.

“Your letter represents part of a course of conduct intended to harass and irreparably injure Mr. Smollett,” Geragos wrote, adding that such an action would be an abuse of the city’s false claims ordinance. “Our research discloses no cases in which the municipal ordinance to try to get a second bite at the apple once charges against a criminal defendant have been dismissed.”

Under the ordinance, the city could seek to recoup three times the cost of the investigation, or about $390,000. The city has said it is drafting a civil complaint to recoup the “full measure” of damages in the case, and will file it soon.

In his letter, Geragos argued that any effort to prosecute Smollett under the ordinance would violate the principle of double jeopardy. Smollett has already forfeited a $10,000 bond payment to the city in connection with the dismissal of the felony charges.

If the city moves ahead with the suit, Geragos said he would subpoena Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, both of whom have been outspoken in denouncing Smollett’s conduct and in expressing their dismay at the State’s Attorney’s decision to drop the charges.

“In light of their apparent vested interest in this matter, we are confident that Mayor Emanuel and Superintendent Johnson will not object to providing their testimony under oath,” Geragos wrote.

Smollett has claimed that he was assaulted on the streets of Chicago on Jan. 29. He told police that two men yelled racial and homophobic slurs and put a noose around his neck. The investigation found that Smollett had hired his personal trainer and the trainer’s brother to attack him.

In a footnote to the letter, Geragos attempts to argue that Smollett’s initial claims to police were consistent with the department’s ultimate conclusions. “The investigation revealed that Mr. Smollett’s statements to police — that on January 29, 2019, two men attacked him while yelling racial and homophobic slurs — were, in fact, true,” Geragos wrote.

More Biz

  • Moksha Fitzgibbons

    Moksha Fitzgibbons Named President of Mobile Video Commerce Platform Ntwrk (EXCLUSIVE)

    Moksha Fitzgibbons has joined Ntwrk as president of the mobile video commerce platform, Variety has learned. He joins the platform having recently served as group chief revenue officer for Valence Media, where he played an integral role in the merger of the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group with Dick Clark Productions and Media Rights Capital. Ntwrk [...]

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    Megan Clarken, Key Nielsen Executive, Will Depart Company (EXCLUSIVE)

    Megan Clarken, a Nielsen executive who has been instrumental in the company’s quest to keep tabs on consumers in the many new ways they have to watch TV, is leaving the measurement giant. “After 15 years at Nielsen, Megan Clarken will be leaving at the end of the month to take on a new position [...]

  • Rose McGowan

    Rose McGowan Files Racketeering Suit Against Harvey Weinstein, David Boies, Lisa Bloom

    Rose McGowan filed a racketeering lawsuit on Wednesday against Harvey Weinstein, as well as against his ex-attorneys Lisa Bloom and David Boies and the spy firm Black Cube. The lawsuit alleges that Weinstein conspired with his attorneys to suppress and discredit her allegation that Weinstein raped her at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997. “This [...]

  • Hulu Taps Netflix's Spencer Peeples as

    Hulu Appoints Netflix's Spencer Peeples as Vice President of Film and Awards Marketing

    Hulu has appointed Spencer Peeples, who currently works as director of awards at Netflix, as its vice president of film and awards marketing, marking the first time the Disney-owned streamer has hired a senior exec dedicated to awards. In his new high-profile role, Peeples will lead the strategy and execution of Hulu’s awards campaigns, as [...]

  • UTA

    UTA Taps Ashley Momtaheni as Director of Corporate Communications

    Ashley Momtaheni is jumping ship from Annapurna Pictures to UTA. The agency has tapped Momtaheni as its new director of corporate communications, reporting to its global chief communications officer, Seth Oster. In her new role, Momtaheni will focus primarily on external communications, rounding out UTA’s senior communications team with veteran UTA comms executive Lisa Stein [...]

  • Euphoria HBO

    'It's an Explosion': Inside the Rising Costs of Making a Scripted TV Series

    When Apple TV plus launches on Nov. 1, it will do so with what’s arguably the most expensive new-series lineup in TV history. Among the streamer’s initial offerings are the drama “The Morning Show,” bearing a price tag believed to be more than $15 million an episode, and the dystopian sci-fi series “See,” which is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content