Chicago kept its promise to take legal action against Jussie Smollett after the Empire star refused to pay just over $130,106 to cover costs to the city for investigating what the actor insists was a hate crime against him.
The city filed a civil suit in the Circuit Court County Thursday (April 11), in hopes of recouping hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover “civil penalties, statutory treble damages, attorney’s fees and costs arising” from his alleged “false statements” to authorities following the January assault, which police later said was a hoax.
Smollett is accused of filing a “false police report claiming that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by unknown attackers.” According to the complaint, Smollett knew his attackers and “orchestrated the purported attack himself.”
Further in the legal documents, the city argues that Smollett became “friends” with his alleged attacker, Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo, in 2017. During the course of the friendship, Smollett and Osundairo “socialized and exercised together,” the complaint states. The documents also accuse the actor of “occasionally” asking Osundairo to help him obtain “recreational drugs.”
The documents claim Smollett sent Osundairo a text message on January 25, 2019, asking when he would be traveling to Nigeria with his brother. “Might need you help on the low. You around to meet up face to face,” Smollett allegedly wrote before driving to Osundairo’s apartment and taking him on a ride.
“During the ride, Defendant stated that he was unhappy with the way his employers handled a racist and homophobic letter he had allegedly received three days earlier, and as a result, he wanted to stage an attack where Abel would appear to batter him.”
The complaint adds that Osundairo commissioned his younger brother Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo to help him, and that Smollett gave the brothers $100 to purchase “clothing and materials needed for the staged attack.” Smollett also wrote the brothers a $3,500 check to allegedly carry out the attack, but put in the memo that the payment was for, “5 week nutrition/workout program.”
When questioned by police, Smollett not only asserted that he was a victim but that the attack was caught on a nearby surveillance camera. However, the suit states that Smollett “purposely led” Chicago Police to “believe that his attackers were white, when in fact, Defendant knew that his attackers were the Osundairo Brothers.”
After an “extensive investigation,” which included obtaining GPS and cell phone records, video surveillance, bank records, and a store receipt, authorities concluded that Smollett lied about the story. Smollett, however, has maintained that he was a victim of an attack.
The 36-year-old actor was later charged with 16 felony charges that were dismissed last month.
Chicago’s suit against Smollett requests that the court force him to pay a civil penalty of $1000 “for each false statement that he made to the city” along with “three times the amount of the damages that the city sustained,” in addition to “litigation and collection fees, and attorneys’ fees.”