Mark Geragos, one of Empire actor Jussie Smollett’s lawyers, sent a letter responding to the city of Chicago after the city demanded Smollett pay over $130,000 for the cost of the investigation.
The Chicago Tribune acquired the letter, which is addressed to Edward N. Siskel, the City of Chicago’s corporation counsel.
Geragos’ letter reads that the city’s actions demanding Smollett pay over $130,000 or face prosecution is “intended to harass and irreparably injure Mr. Smollett.” Geragos states the City of Chicago’s letter is “both factually and legally flawed, and Mr. Smollett will not be intimidated into paying the demanded sum.”
Geragos continues, “Your claim that Mr. Smollett filed a false police report and orchestrated his own attack is false and defamatory.” He adds, “It is apparent that your threats were made maliciously and in bad faith, and without an honest belief that a cause of action against Mr. Smollett exists, even under the lesser preponderance of evidence standard.”
Geragos states the City of Chicago’s threat to file a civil lawsuit against Jussie Smollett “is unconstitutional.”
In the case that Chicago does file a civil suit against Smollett, Geragos will demand that Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Abimbola Osundairo, Olabinjo Osundairo, and attorneys Gloria Schmidt and Jorge Rodriguez be deposed. He also notes they will demand “the prompt production of the entire investigation file in this matter, including the full discovery from the criminal action which was never provided to the defense.”
Chiacgo had previously given the actor seven days to repay the costs incurred from investigating the alleged hate crime Smollett claims he was the victim of. Smollett claimed he was attacked by two men, who shouted a number of slurs along with “This is MAGA country.” Chicago police reported they found evidence Smollett was lying and accused the actor of being the mastermind behind his own attack.
The deadline to repay the costs was on April 4th with the threat of a civil lawsuit if Smollett refused to pay.
The City of Chicago and a grand jury brought 16 felony counts against Smollett for lying to police, but those charges were dropped late last month. City officials were furious the charges were dropped and the file was sealed.
Geragos previously described Jussie Smollett as the victim of a “media gangbang.”
Despite the letter from Geragos, the city confirmed that its Law Department was in the midst of preparing a civil lawsuit against the actor.
Bill McCaffrey, spokesperson for the Law Department, said in part:
“Mr. Smollett has refused to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on January 29, 2019. The Law Department is now drafting a civil complaint that will be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook Country. Once it is filed, the Law Department will send a courtesy copy of the complaint to Mr. Smollett’s Los Angeles-based legal team.”
Furthermore, McCaffrey’s office indicated they plan to pursue “the full measure of damages” that is allowable by city law.
What do you make of these recent developments in the Jussie Smollett case?