Disgraced alleged hate crime hoaxer Jussie Smollett is finally learning what most entertainers understand by the end of their first acting class: you won’t ever live down a bad performance.
After allegedly staging a phony hate crime on himself, Smollett tried desperately to play the role of “an innocent man” for Chicago lawmakers. The “Empire” actor may have seen the charges against him dropped, but his performance failed to convince officials that he had nothing to do with the crime.
Following an expensive investigative process, lawmakers demanded last week that Smollett hand over more than $130,000 to cover the costs. A formal letter gave him seven days to do so.
In his entitled arrogance, Smollett has refused to ante up , sticking to his guns and playing the “innocence card” yet again. The actor is claiming he has been “truthful and consistent” from the start, but prosecutors aren’t taking the bait. Chicago Mayor and former Barack Obama advisor Rahm Emanuel says that the actor owes the city an apology, while Joseph Magats – one of the chief prosecutors involved in the case – recently commented that he “does not believe” Smollett is innocent.
“We stand behind the investigation and the facts revealed. We believe he did what he was charged with doing. This was not an exoneration. To say that he was exonerated by us or anyone is not true.”
Smollett’s refusal to pay may have done the actor in. The city of Chicago is now filing a civil lawsuit against Smollett for an amount approximately three times larger than the $130,000 it had originally asked for. Smollett will also be responsible for attorney’s fees and court costs.
If the legal system rules against Smollett, he may find himself liable to pay upwards of half-a-million dollars.
Bill McCaffrey – a spokesperson for Chicago’s Department of Law – explained in a statement:
“Mr. Smollett has refused to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false report on January 29, 2019. The Law Department is now drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County.”
Civil lawsuits, naturally, are handled in civil courts, which provide far more lenient atmospheres than criminal courts. With criminal cases, prosecutors are required to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” the guilt of the offending party. In a civil court, the rules are much looser. The city would only have to prove “preponderance of evidence.” That means they would only be required to show that Smollett “more than likely” staged the attack on himself. This would be enough for the court to rule against the actor.
At press time, neither a filing date nor a court date has been set. McCaffrey commented that the lawsuit against Smollett will be filed “in the near future” and that the city will “pursue the full measure of damages allowed under the ordinance.”