“The next step is for Mr. Smollett to immediately make arrangements to reimburse the city and taxpayers for the cost.”
If he doesn’t, the city may pursue legal remedies or prosecute the “Empire” actor under the city’s municipal code. Chicago is willing to accept a money order – made out to “City of Chicago” – or a certified cashier’s check.
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“The city feels that is a reasonable and legally justifiable amount to collect to help offset the cost of the investigation,” said city spokesman Bill McCaffrey in a letter to Smollett obtained by the New York Post. “The next step is for Mr. Smollett to immediately make arrangements to reimburse the city and taxpayers for the cost.”
“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 added.
McCaffrey cited the work of more than “two dozen detectives and police officers” who spent weeks and worked overtime investigating Smollett’s “false” claims.
“Ultimately, the Chicago police investigation revealed that you knowingly filed a false police report and had in fact orchestrated your attack,” the letter read. The $130,000 figure covers the cost of overtime the Chicago Police Department had to pay out thanks to Smollett.
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“If the amount is not timely paid, the Department of Law may prosecute you for making a false statement to the city,” the letter added.
Smollett’s attorneys declined when asked for comment by CNN. But they did refer CNN to an earlier statement, which claimed that it’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson “who owe Jussie — owe him an apology — for dragging” his “character through the mud.”
The actor’s case has ignited a firestorm of controversy after prosecutors announced Monday that 16 charges of disorderly conduct for making a false statement against him had been dropped. The Chicago Police Department is “furious” about the decision, according to reports.
Smollett, 36, black and gay former star of Fox’s “Empire” TV show, reported to the Chicago Police Department on Jan. 29 that he was assaulted by two masked men who called him racist and homophobic slurs and shouted “This is ‘MAGA’ country!” He said his assailants poured what he believed was bleach on him and put a noose around his neck.
Police at first investigated the incident as a possible hate crime, and many other celebrities, activists, politicians, and journalists rushed to condemn not just the attackers but the supposed state of Trump’s America.
In February, Smollett was arrested and charged with staging the crime in an apparent effort to garner attention and sympathy. Fox would cut ties with the actor shortly after, removing him from the final two episodes of the season.
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