The city of Chicago is seeking $130,000 from Jussie Smollett to cover the cost of the investigation into an alleged hate crime against him, which police say he faked.
Just days after prosecutors suddenly dropped all charges against Smollett with no legal explanation, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday the city would attempt to recoup the money police spent investigating Smollett’s claims. The city’s decision to clear Smollett of charges blindsided and infuriated Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who still believe the “Empire” actor staged the alleged incident.
"My recommendation is when he writes the check, in the memo section he can put the word, I'm 'accountable' for the hoax,” Emanuel said.
Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for the city government’s legal department, confirmed the amount, $130,000, to the Associated Press Thursday afternoon. Smollett had already agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond.
Smollett, who's gay and black, originally faced up to five years in prison on charges related to paying two masked men to attack him. He had told police they beat him, shouted “MAGA county” as well as racist and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck one night in January.
Smollett, however, has maintained his innocence and his claim that he’s a victim. “I would not be my mother’s son if I had done one drop of what I was accused of,” he said during a press conference Tuesday.
President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning that Smollett’s case was an “embarrassment” to the United States and that the FBI and Department of Justice were reviewing the case.
Cover image: Actor Jussie Smollett smiles and waves to supporters before leaving Cook County Court after his charges were dropped Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)