City of Chicago demands Jussie Smollett pay $130,000 to cover overtime for police investigation
The charges may have been dropped against Jussie Smollett, but the City of Chicago is not quite done with the actor just yet.
On Thursday, just two days after charges were dropped against Smollett, 36, city lawyers issued a demand letter to him on behalf of Chicago and their police department requesting that the actor pay $130,106.15 to make up for overtime hours that were spent on the investigation.
In the note, which was obtained by NBC Chicago, Edward N. Siskel, the Chicago Corporation Counsel who handles civil claims for the city, alleged that Smollett “knowingly filed a false police report” on Jan. 29.
He also demanded that the Empire actor pay back the money within 7 days or risk being prosecuted. The actor’s defense team, meanwhile, has made it clear that Smollett will be fighting this.
“The City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department take seriously those who make false statements to the police, thereby diverting resources from other investigations and undermining the criminal justice system,” the letter began.
“Over two dozen detectives and police officers participated in the investigation, ultimately spending weeks investigating your false claims, including a substantial number of overtime hours,” it read, adding that Smollett allegedly “expended resources that could have been used for other investigations.”
Based on video and physical evidence, as well as conducted interviews, Siskel said, “The Chicago police investigation revealed that you knowingly filed a false police report and had in fact orchestrated your own attack.”
Siskel also threatened to take legal action if Smollett does not pay the costs within 7 days. Though the actor would not receive jail time for the penalty, he could face a minimum fine of $500,000 or three times the amount of damages.
In response to the city’s letter, Smollett’s attorneys released a statement to PEOPLE and made it clear that he does not plan on paying the requested expenses.
“It is the Mayor and the Police Chief who owe Jussie – owe him an apology – for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud. Jussie has paid enough,” a rep of Smollett’s defense team said.
“Jussie did not do this crime and the charges have been dropped. He has always told the truth. His name is being dragged through the mud by a group of city leaders more focused on fighting each other than anything else,” another rep added. “We won’t participate in this back and forth. He deserves to move on with his life.”
On Tuesday, prosecutors announced they were dropping charges against Smollett for allegedly staging a hate crime against himself in January, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office confirms to PEOPLE.
“After reviewing all the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” read a statement from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office obtained by PEOPLE.
Both Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson have sharply criticized the move, with Emmanuel calling it “an unbelievable whitewash of justice.”
“It’s immoral, unethical, [and] wrong,” Emmanuel said at a Tuesday press conference, adding that he believes the actor perpetrated a hoax, citing a grand jury’s indictment of Smollett as evidence. “How dare him. … Is there no decency in this man?”
Johnson, a Chicago native who is also black, had previously blasted the actor by saying, “Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to advance his career.” On Tuesday he said: “Do I think justice was served? No. What do I think justice is? I think this city is still owed an apology.”
Meanwhile, First Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Joseph Magats, the lead prosecutor in the case, has defended his decision — though Magats did tell CBS Chicago that the decision did not absolve Smollett.
“I do not believe he is innocent,” Magats said.
Illinois prosecutors have said, too, that they still support the original criminal accusation again Smollett, with the state’s attorney’s office affirming that in a separate statement to PEOPLE. “We stand by the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our approval of charges,” read the statement.
Smollett has maintained his innocence throughout, saying in brief remarks to reporters at the Cook County courthouse Tuesday that he’s “been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”
“I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of doing what I was accused of,” Smollett said.
He had faced 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly fabricating details of an assault that occurred around 2 a.m. local time on January 29 on a street in his Chicago neighborhood.
Johnson alleged that Smollett’s motive was to attract attention and sympathy with the goal to boost his salary on Fox’s Empire.
A statement obtained by PEOPLE from 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said, “Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”
This article originally appeared on People.com