The gift that keeps on giving ... is still giving. Back in the spotlight is (former) Empire actor Jussie Smollett with an update on the saga between him and the City of Chicago. [insert pained groaning sound here]
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, lawyers representing the city's lawsuit against Smollett for allegedly falsifying a police report and wasting valuable city resources expect to go to trial as early as next summer. This information comes from a five-page status report filed in federal court Thursday on the city's efforts to recoup over $130,000 from the actor-activist.
But Smollett isn't taking the impending trial lying down. The status report also notes he's considering legal action of his own against the city "for their conduct underlying the arrest and their conduct thereafter."
"Defendant submitted a false police report claiming that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic beating by unknown attackers," the lawsuit states, according to Yahoo News. "In reality, Defendant knew his attackers and orchestrated the purported attack himself. Later, when police confronted him with evidence about his attackers, he still refused to disclose his involvement in planning the attack."
But the charges were suddenly dropped by the city's prosecutor because they felt a conviction was "uncertain" based on evidence collected.
"In determining whether or not to pursue charges, prosecutors are required to balance the severity of the crime against the likelihood of securing a conviction," wrote Kim Foxx, Cook County state's attorney, in a Chicago Tribune op-ed following the case. "For a variety of reasons, including public statements made about the evidence in this case, my office believed the likelihood of securing a conviction was not certain."
In response, the city filed this civil suit against Smollett to the tune of $130,106, what they say it cost them to investigate the report. The trial is expected to last a couple days in June 2020.
Smollett was written out of the last few episodes of Empire's fifth season, and the show has moved on without his character for its upcoming final season.