The city of Chicago is preparing to sue Jussie Smollett in the wake of his allegedly false statements from earlier in 2019. Earlier this year, the “Empire” actor alleged that he was the victim of a vicious physical attack, and the city is suing to recover expenses incurred during overtime taken by law enforcement officials investigating the claims of the actor. Theoretically, the actor could be asked to pay as much as $390,000 as the law allows for expenses to be as high as triple the cost of damages in the case of false reports.
Jussie Smollett is an American actor and singer whose career includes roles in “The Mighty Ducks,” “Alien: Covenant,” and most famously “Empire.” He is also an LGBTQ+ actor, having come out as gay during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in March 2015. As a musician he has signed a recording contract with Columbia Records, and he has been one of the songwriters for Empire. He has also collaborated with his sister, Jurnee Smollett, and released his own music in the past through his self-owned label, Music of Sound.
Smollett’s legal troubles in 2019 might be the newest of the legal issues the actor has faced, but it isn’t the first. He provided false information to law enforcement in the past, when he used his brother’s name on a summons to promise to appear in court, and he gave the police a false name when he was stopped for drinking under the influence and for driving without a valid driver’s license.
The current set of legal problems for the actor is in stem from events earlier this year. In January, a letter was received by Smollett that was addressed to him and depicted a stick figure being hung from a tree and had a gun aimed at it, it also contained a threat to the actor and contained the expression “MAGA,” which stands for Make America Great Again, an expression associated most commonly with supporters of President Donald J. Trump. Days after receiving this letter, the actor claimed that he was attacked very early in the morning in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood in what was believed to be a hate crime based on its description. Shortly after the alleged attack the actor went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and would be released hours later after being said to be, “in good condition.” Police investigated the claims of the actor and after investigating, believed that the actor himself was behind the attack.
After this, the actor would be charged with 16 felony counts of, “false report of offense” related to this. Smollett entered a not guilty plea in Chicago but on March 26, all charges filed against him were dropped and Judge Steven Watkins ordered the court file sealed. This is due to a deal being reached after the actor performed 16 hours of community service and forfeited his $10,000 bond. Additionally, the actor is being asked to pay $1,000 for each of the false statements he is believed to have made to the city of Chicago.