A lawyer representing actor Jesse Smollett told the city of Chicago that Smollett will not pay $130,000 the city says it is owed.
Smollett will demand testimony from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Police Supt. Eddie Johnson and others if the city chooses to sue for the amount, attorney Mark Geragos told municipal lawyer Edward Siskel in a letter on Thursday.
The city’s law department sent Smollett a letter seeking $130,106.15 from the actor on the television program “Empire” to reimburse for the cost of overtime pay for police investigators working Smollett’s case.
In January, Smollett said he was the victim of a homophobic and racially-motivated attack. However, after an investigation, police said the incident was a hoax that Smollett staged. The actor was then charged with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct, but prosecutors abruptly dropped the criminal case against Smollett late last month.
“Mr. Smollett will not be intimidated into paying the demanded sum,” the letter from Geragos reads. “All criminal charges against Mr. Smollett from this incident have been dismissed and his record has been sealed. Thus, your claim that Mr. Smollett filed a false police report and orchestrated his own attack is false and defamatory.”
The city’s intent to collect the money from Smollett was outlined in a statement by City of Chicago Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey on Thursday.
“Mr. Smollett has refused to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on January 29, 2019. The Law Department is now drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook Country,” McCaffrey said. “Once it is filed, the Law Department will send a courtesy copy of the complaint to Mr. Smollett’s Los Angeles-based legal team.”
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