Jussie Smollett Ordered to reimburse the City of Chicago $130,000 to cover the costs for investigating his false claims.
In a bizarre turn of events on Tuesday, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped all 16 felony charges against the disgraced actor after he claimed he was assaulted by two men wearing ski masks and Red MAGA hats outside his Chicago condo on Jan. 29.
According to TMZ, the Chicago Corporation Counsel is demanding “immediate payment” of $130,000 in compensation for overtime paid to two dozen police officers and detectives who worked on Smollett’s case.
In a blistering letter to the “Empire” star, the counsel wrote, “Over two dozen detectives and police officers participated in the investigation, ultimately spending weeks investigating your false claims. The Chicago police investigation revealed that you knowingly filed a false police report and had in fact orchestrated your own attack.”
Smollet, 36, has seven days to cough up the cash, or the Corporation Counsel vows to “prosecute you for making a false statement under the Municipal Code of Chicago.”
The threat doesn’t carry any jail time, but Smollett could be ordered to pay a fine of $500 and the counsel could triple its actual damages to $390,000.
The actor and part-time singer, who is nominated for a NAACP Award, continues to maintain his innocence despite the overwhelming evidence that he staged the anti-homosexual hate crime with two friends on Jan. 29.
Local police and Mayor Rahm Emanuel expressed their outrage in an emotionally charged news conference following Smollett’s emergency court hearing on Tuesday.
President Donald Trump ordered a federal investigation into possible corruption in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that Smollett’s case was “outrageous” and “an embarrassment to us all.”
Smollett’s attorneys complained that local officials are continuing their campaign against him.
Attorney Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement: “We are disappointed the local authorities have continued their campaign against Jussie Smollett after the charges against him have been dropped.
“The facts are clear. The Assistant State’s Attorney appeared in court and dismissed the charges. Mr. Smollett forfeited his bond. The case is closed. No public official has the right to violate Mr. Smollett’s due process rights.”
Smollett’s Empire co-stars Taraji P. Henson, left, and AzMarie Livingston, right, welcomed him back to the show with open arms.
“I’m happy that the truth has finally been set free, because I knew it all along,” Henson told USA Today. “We’re all happy for him, and thank God the truth prevailed.”
“I know him and I know his track record,” said Henson, who plays Cookie Lyon – the mother of Smollett’s character, Jamal. “I’m not going to jump on clickbait just because someone says something derogatory about a person I know and love… I know the type of activism this young man does in his community, I know that he’s a giver – he’s not an attention-seeker.”
Livingston, 32, who plays Chicken on the Fox TV soap opera, said she was happy that the charges were dropped.
“I’m happy his charges are being dropped and look forward to seeing Jussie on set and his character Jamal back on Empire,” the openly lesbian actress told PEOPLE in a statement.
The show’s writers mocked Smollett’s critics on social media after the charges were dropped against him.
“See y’all Wednesday,” they tweeted, adding a winking emoji.
But their celebration was short-lived.
According to Tvbythenumbers, Wednesday’s episode continues the scripted series’ slide. Just 3.7 million viewers tuned in to watch Empire. Down from last week’s 4.1 million viewers.