Furious Chicago officials on Thursday said they plan to bill “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett to cover the costs of a lengthy police investigation after prosecutors abruptly dropped all charges against him over an allegedly false claim that he was a victim of a hate crime.
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The Chicago Corporation Counsel is seeking at least $130,000 from Smollett related to the investigation, a city spokesperson told Fox News. The bill includes the cost of overtime pay for dozens of Chicago police officers and other resources deployed as authorities investigated the alleged crime, and ultimately opted to charge Smollett for filing a false police report, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“The Chicago Police Department conducted an extensive investigation into this report. Over two dozen detectives and police officers participated in the investigation, ultimately spending weeks investigating the false claims, including a substantial number of overtime hours,” the city said in a letter to Smollett’s attorney, adding that it could pursue further legal action of Smollett failed to pay.
Smollett initially claimed that he was the victim of a vicious attack on Jan. 29, alleging that two men using racist and homophobic slurs attacked him, put a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him. After launching an investigation in a bid to identify the attackers, police uncovered evidence that Smollett’s claims were a hoax and indicted him on various charges.
Top Chicago officials, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, expressed outrage this week after prosecutors dropped all 16 pending charges against Smollett. Emanuel ripped the decision, calling it a “whitewash of justice.”
In an appearance on Chicago’s WGN Radio earlier Thursday, Emanuel said billing Smollett was “a small way of both acknowledging guilt and, two, that we spent these resources and the taxpayers are deserved, at minimum” of reimbursement.
Smollett’s legal team dismissed Emanuel’s call for reimbursement in a statement to the Sun-Times.
“It is the Mayor and the Police Chief who owe Jussie — owe him an apology — for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud. Jussie has paid enough,” the attorneys said.