Although all charges were dropped against Jussie Smollett on Tuesday for allegedly filing a false police report in which he claimed he was the victim of a hate crime, the fallout from the case continues.
Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for the Chicago government’s legal department, tells ET that the city is now seeking $130,000 from Smollett to cover the costs of the investigation into the actor’s alleged attack.
“The city feels this is a reasonable and legally justifiable amount to collect to help offset the cost of the investigation,” McCaffrey tells ET.
A letter to Smollett from the Department of Law, City of Chicago, states that “in order to resolve the matter without further legal action, the City requires immediate payment of the $130,106.15 expended on overtime hours in the investigation of this matter.” The letter says the payment must be made within seven days, or the Department of Law may prosecute Smollett for making a false statement to the city of Chicago.
Smollett has maintained that he is a victim and has denied all allegations that he staged the incident. But in a press conference on Tuesday, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel as well as Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson slammed the prosecution’s decision to drop the charges against Smollett, and said they stood behind the Chicago detectives’ investigation that let to Smollett getting indicted on 16 felony counts earlier this month for allegedly making false statements to two different Chicago Police officers. Emanuel talked about both the financial and “ethical” cost of the case, and claimed Smollett’s forfeiture of a $10,000 bond didn’t “come close” to what the city spent on resources investigating.
“I’d like to remind everybody that a grand jury indicted this individual on only a piece of the evidence that police had collected,” Emanuel said. “… This is a whitewash of justice. A grand jury could not have been clearer.”
“Where is the accountability in the system?” Emanuel added. “You cannot have, because of a person’s position, one set of rules apply to them and another set of rules apply to everybody else. … Our officers did hard work day in and day out, working to unwind what actually happened that day. The city saw its reputation dragged through the mud.”
In a statement to ET on Thursday, Smollett’s defense team said it was Smollett who was owed an apology.
“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,” the statement reads. “Jussie has paid enough.”
On Wednesday, Smollett’s attorney, Patricia Brown Holmes, also accused Chicago officials of carrying out a smear campaign against the Empire star.
“We are disappointed the local authorities have continued their campaign against Jussie Smollett after the charges against him have been dropped,” Holmes said in a statement to ET. “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. Mr. Smollett, like every citizen, is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”
” … We respectfully request all government agencies involved live up to the ethical tenants of their office, state and local law, Supreme Court Rules on Trial Publicity as well as the Rules of Professional Responsibility for lawyers and prosecutors,” the statement continued. “We will not try this case in a court of public opinion. There is no case to try. The case was dismissed. We should all allow Mr. Smollett to move on with his life as a free citizen.”
In a statement on Tuesday to ET, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office explained the decision to drop the charges against Smollett.
“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” the statement read.
After strong condemnation by both Johnson and Emanuel, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office shed more light on their decision with another statement to ET.
“In the last two years, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has referred more than 5,700 cases for alternative prosecution,” the statement read. “This is not a new or unusual practice. An alternative disposition does not mean that there were any problems or infirmities with the case or the evidence. We stand behind the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our decision to approve charges in this case. We did not exonerate Mr. Smollett. The charges were dropped in return for Mr. Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago. Without the completion of these terms, the charges would not have been dropped. This outcome was met under the same criteria that would occur for and is available to any defendant with similar circumstances.”
ET has learned that community service was never ordered by the court. A source close to Smollett also told ET on Wednesday that prosecutors reached out to the actor’s defense team about two weeks ago to talk about the case. According to the source, the defense team went over everything with the prosecutors and everyone agreed the charges needed to be dropped.
Meanwhile, a Chicago police source told ET that the department had no idea the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office was going to drop all the charges against Smollett on Tuesday morning. The source called the decision “insulting” and an “absolute travesty.”
Smollett and his lawyers held a press conference on Tuesday, and the actor continued to maintain his innocence.
“I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one,” he told reporters. “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of.”
“This has been an incredibly difficult time,” he continued. “Honestly one of the worst of my entire life. But I am a man of faith and I am a man that has knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this. I just wouldn’t. Now I’d like nothing more than to get back to work and move on with my life. But make no mistakes, I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere.”