Jussie Smollett has gone on the offensive against the city of Chicago for attempting to get him to pay for a police investigation into an alleged hate crime.
Smollett’s attorneys responded on Tuesday to a lawsuit brought by the city by filing a counterclaim alleging the actor was a victim of “malicious prosecution,” Fox News reported.
In January, Smollett, then a star of Fox’s “Empire” TV show, made national headlines by claiming that two masked men jumped him outside his Chicago apartment, calling him racist and homophobic slurs and shouting, “This is ‘MAGA’ country!” According to his account, they poured what he believed was bleach on him and put a noose around his neck.
Chicago police at first investigated the incident as a possible hate crime. Many other celebrities as well as activists, politicians and journalists rushed to condemn not just the attackers but the supposed state of President Donald Trump’s America.
However, in February, police arrested Smollett and charged him with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly orchestrating the attack as a publicity stunt. Fox cut ties with the actor and removed him from the final two episodes “Empire” Season 5, which was canceled after one more season.
Then, in April, Chicago police sued Smollett for $130,000 in costs related to investigating his allegations. Cook County Judge Michael Toomin in August appointed Webb, a former federal prosecutor, to reinvestigate the case of Smollett.
Smollett argues in his counterclaim that the city caused him humiliation and extreme distress by charging him with making up the attack.
- Jussie Smollett appears on ABC’s “Good Morning American” on Feb. 14, 2019.: Screen grab from YouTube