Jussie Smollett is maintaining his innocence. Almost a year after he says he faced a racist and homophobic attack, the former Empire actor is suing the City of Chicago and its top cop for causing him “mass public ridicule and harm to him personally” after alleging he orchestrated the assault.
“Aside from the substantial reputational harm the Osundairo Brothers’ false statements have caused him,” states the response and counter lawsuit filed Tuesday night by Smollett’s attorneys. “Mr. Smollett has also suffered and continues to suffer substantial economic losses, including but not limited to lost employment opportunities and mounting legal fees, as well as severe mental anguish and distress.”
As Out has reported too many times to count, Smollett filed a police report January 29 claiming that he’d been assaulted on the street by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him, before pouring bleach on him. He also said the assailants invoked President Donald Trump’s dog whistle campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
As a result, the Chicago Police Department say they engaged in an intense investigation, ultimately concluding that Smollett staged and orchestrated the attack himself enlisting the help of the Osundairo brothers.
Though Smollett was indicted on 16 criminal counts of filing a false police report, those charges were suddenly dismissed by the State’s Attorney’s Office earlier this year. Though the controversial move does not legally mean Smollett is not guilty, he has maintained his innocence “since day one,” the actor said during a press conference at the time.
The City of Chicago is currently suing Smollett in response, arguing that he should pay for the investigation under the city’s False Statements Ordinance, which tallies to $130,000 in police overtime costs and $260,000 in damages. Though Smollett’s reps attempted to have the case dismissed, a U.S. District Judge denied it last month.
Smollett has formally responded to the allegations against him in a document submitted to the court that continues to deny the city’s assertions and filed a counter complaint against them. In the 48-page doc — which you can read for yourself here, thanks to Deadline — the actor categorically denies that he lied or staged the attack and lists a number of questions about the supposed evidence the city has against him. These include the city’s interrogation tactics used against the brothers, eye-witness statements that corroborate Smollett’s statements to the police that were ignored by the city in favor of the brothers’, and questionable interviews made by the brothers’ attorney.
Smollett is requesting a trial by jury for the case and that the City of Chicago be “denied its requested relief” and he be awarded unspecified “compensatory and punitive damages.”