Jussie Smollett can’t seem to catch a break.
The City of Chicago is reportedly suing the Empire actor for $130,000 over the time spent investigating his now-infamous hate crime, TMZ reports. Officials reportedly sent a letter of demand to Smollett earlier this week, but his legal team quickly rejected it, saying the only person owed for their pain and suffering is Jussie.
The back and forth has now erupted into a more serious matter, however. If the case ultimately returns to court, a judge will have to decide whether the alleged attack was staged before determining whether Smollett is required to fork over any money. But this could work against the actor. Apparently, the judge would only have to rule that it was more than likely that Jussie faked the attack, which is a much lower standard of proof needed than if this were a criminal case.
And it gets worse. If a judge were to rule the attack was fake, it gives Empire more motive to terminate Smollett’s contract, despite the fact that the original charges from his criminal case were dropped. According to the law, the city’s civil case could actually collect three times the original asking price, which would tally up to $390,000.
So, this civil suit could probably go in a million different directions. Let’s see how Smollett and his team decide to play it.