The City of Chicago on Friday said it was still suing actor Jussie Smollett for costs incurred by the city’s police department after Smollett was found guilty of falsely reporting a hate crime earlier this week.
“The City filed a civil lawsuit against Jussie Smollett to recover costs incurred by the Chicago Police Department investigating what the City believed to be Smollett’s false police reports that he was a victim of a hate crime,” the director of public affairs for the City of Chicago said in a statement.
“While using a different standard of proof, the jury’s finding of guilt convicting Jussie Smollett of criminal charges stemming from the incident confirms that the City was correct in bringing its civil lawsuit.”
“The City intends to continue to pursue its lawsuit to hold Smollett accountable for his unlawful actions and to demand that he compensate the City for costs incurred by the Chicago Police Department which took his false claims of harm seriously,” the statement added.
The jury on Thursday found the 39-year-old guilty of five counts of disorderly conduct related to false statements to Chicago police officers about a 2019 hate crime against him.
Smollett, who is Black and gay, maintained throughout the nearly three-year legal battle that he was attacked in downtown Chicago in January 2019 by people who yelled racist and anti-gay slurs and put a noose around his neck.
A prosecutor said the verdict was “a resounding message by the jury that Mr. Smollett did exactly what we said he did” — recruit two brothers to fake an attack so it could be recorded by a surveillance camera and posted on social media for publicity.
The brothers testified that the former “Empire” actor paid them $3,500 for the hoax and gave them lines to yell, including about “MAGA country,” an apparent reference to then-President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
Smollett testified that he was the victim of a real hate crime, telling jurors “there was no hoax.” He called the brothers who testified against him “liars” and said the $3,500 check he wrote them was for meal and workout plans.
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