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Jussie Smollett is suing city of Chicago over claims he staged homophobic and racist attack on himself

Nick Duffy November 20, 2019
Actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Courthouse after his court appearance on March 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.

Actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Courthouse after his court appearance on March 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett has launched legal action against the city of Chicago, seeking damages for “mental anguish” caused by claims he faked a homophobic attack.

The actor claimed he was the victim of a homophobic and racist attack in January, which Chicago police officers later have accused him of faking.

Charges against the actor were dropped in March, but the city of Chicago is still pursuing a civil lawsuit against Smollett, seeking to reclaim $130,000 spent investigating his claims.

Jussie Smollett says police pursued ‘malicious prosecution’

In a counterclaim filed on Tuesday, the actor sought damages from the city, arguing that he is a victim of a malicious prosecution that has hurt his career.

Smollett’s lawsuit argues that police based their criminal investigation on “unreliable statements” from two brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, who told police that they were paid by Smollett to stage the attack.

The actor’s lawyers contend: “It is clear that the Osundairo Brothers faced prosecution by the CPD for the attack, and they decided to advance the false hoax narrative to avoid criminal charges.”

Actor Jussie Smollett after his court appearance at Leighton Courthouse on March 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.
Actor Jussie Smollett after his court appearance at Leighton Courthouse on March 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Alongside the city of Chicago, three police officers and the Osundairo brothers are named in the counterclaim.

Actor wants damages for ‘mental anguish’

The lawsuit states: “Aside from the substantial reputational harm the Osundairo Brothers’ false statements have caused him, 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.”

The document also contends that the city’s civil claim against Smollett is invalid, because he has already voluntarily agreed to forfeit a $10,000 bond to settle the dropped criminal case.

It argues: “Having agreed to accept $10,000 from Mr. Smollett as payment in full in connection with the dismissal of the charges against him, the City cannot seek additional recovery from Mr. Smollett under the doctrine of accord and satisfaction.”

The actor, who was suspended from Empire during the since-dropped criminal case, has not returned to the show for its final season.

In June, Empire creator Lee Daniels closed the door on the prospect of a return for the actor, making clear: “Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire.”

More: Empire, Jussie Smollett

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