The city of Chicago’s effort to get some sort of face-saving reimbursement from Jussie Smollett on a voluntary basis was a failure. Smollett was sent a bill for just over $130,000 and given a deadline (last Thursday) to pay up. He declined. So now the city is taking the next step in the form of a civil lawsuit. From the Chicago Tribune:
The upcoming battle in civil court promises in many ways to mirror the criminal charges against Smollett that were abruptly dismissed by prosecutors last month. Both center on the same question: Did Smollett stage a physical assault on himself, claiming his attackers shouted racial and homophobic slurs?
The suit did not specify the damages that the city will seek, but the city said that more than two dozen Chicago police officers and detectives worked a combined 1,836 hours of overtime over at least two weeks while investigating Smollett’s claims.
A defiant letter sent last week by Smollett’s lawyer warned the city against suing him, saying the actor “will not be intimidated into paying the demanded sum.”
The key difference, of course, is that the standard of proof is lower in civil court than it is in criminal court. Also, filing this case gives the city a chance to lay out all of the evidence gathered against Smollett. The court filing was published by the Chicago SunTimes and it lays out the case in detail:
On the morning of January 25, 2019, Defendant texted Abel asking when Abel would be leaving on his upcoming trip to Nigeria with his 27-year-old brother, Olabinjo Osundairo
Abel responded to Defendant via text message that he and Ola were scheduled to depart the evening of January 29, 2019.
After Abel confirmed the date and time of his trip, Defendant texted Abel, “Might need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face to face?”
That same day, January 25, 2019, GPS records and video evidence indicate that Defendant drove Abel from Empire’s Cinespace Studio to Abel’s apartment. During the ride,
Defendant stated that he was unhappy with the way his employers handled a racist and homophobic letter he had allegedly received three days earlier, and, as a result, he wanted to stage an attack where Abel would appear to batter him.
Video evidence shows that Defendant and Abel reached Abel’s apartment at approximately 5:00 P.M. on January 25th. When they arrived, Ola, who was then living with Abel, came out of the apartment and sat with Defendant and Abel in Defendant’s vehicle. Once inside, Defendant asked Ola if he could trust him and Ola assented.
After Ola attested to his trustworthiness, Defendant and Abel and Ola (the “Osundairo Brothers”) discussed their plan to stage a fake racist and homophobic attack on Defendant. Defendant directed the Osundairo Brothers to stage the fake attack on the evening of January 28, 2019, near his apartment building in Streeterville. Defendant and the Osundairo Brothers agreed that the Osundairo Brothers would catch Defendant’s attention, and the fake attack would begin when the Osundairo Brothers called Defendant an “Empire F
—– Empire N—-.”
On January 27, 2019, video, GPS, and text message evidence indicates that Defendant again met with the Osundairo Brothers to finalize the details of the staged attack. On that day, Defendant drove the Osundairo Brothers to the location where he wanted the staged attack to take place, which was the corner of New Street and North Water Street in Chicago, Illinois.
While at that location, Defendant directed the Osundairo Brothers’ attention to a surveillance camera, which Defendant believed would capture the incident.
Defendant and the Osundairo Brothers coordinated the details of the fake attack. They agreed that Abel would attack Defendant, but would not hurt him too badly and would give Defendant a chance to appear to fight back.
They also discussed having the Osundairo Brothers place a rope around Defendant’s neck and pour liquid on him.
Defendant told the Osundairo Brothers that he wanted the attack to take place the following night at 10:00 P.M., and instructed them not to bring their cell phones with them.
Defendant provided Abel with a $100 bill to purchase the clothing and materials needed for the staged attack.
During the same conversation in which Defendant and the Osundairo Brothers planned the fake attack, Defendant also gave Abel a three thousand five hundred dollar ($3,500) personal check made payable to Abel. The memo line of the check contained the words, “5 week nutrition/ workout program (don’t go).”
But the plan to carry out the attack at 10 pm didn’t work out because Smollett had to leave town and his return flight was delayed:
On the evening of January 28, 2019, Defendant’s flight into Chicago was delayed, and he called Abel telling him he needed to delay the staged attack, and Abel agreed.
Defendant’s plane landed at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (“O’Hare”) at 12:30 A.M., on January 29, 2019.
Cell phone records indicate that at 12:49 A.M., Defendant and Abel spoke by telephone. During this call, Defendant told Abel the attack should take place at 2:00 A.M. at the agreed-upon location. Minutes later, Ola ordered an Uber to pick the Osundairo Brothers up at their home.
The brothers arrived within blocks of the apartment about 40 minutes early and spent time walking around in the freezing winter weather. Then, as planned, the “attack” happened minutes after 2 am. When it was over the brothers got a cab and were back home in about 20 minutes. Smollett’s agent called the Chicago PD and the arrived at his house about 40 minutes after the alleged attack and found him still wearing the rope around his neck:
Defendant told the CPD officers that, during the attack, his purported attackers had placed a rope around his neck, poured a liquid chemical on him, and told him this is “MAGA
Defendant did not tell the CPD officers that his attack was staged at his direction and with the cooperation of the Osundairo Brothers.
Defendant told the CPD officers that the incident happened near a camera that should have captured the attack. That is the same camera Defendant pointed out to the Osundairo Brothers on January 27, 2019.
At no point did Defendant inform police that he knew his attackers or recognized their appearance or voices.
Instead, Defendant misled the CPD officers when he described his attackers.
Defendant told the CPD officers that his primary attacker (now known to be Abel) was wearing a ski mask that covered his entire face, with the exception of the area around his eyes, by which Defendant could tell the attacker was white-skinned. Defendant made this statement despite knowing that the Osundairo Brothers are not white-skinned.
By providing this false description, Defendant purposely misled the CPD officers to believe that his attackers were white, when, in fact, Defendant knew that his attackers were the Osundairo Brothers.
Reading all of this, it’s amazing that Kim Foxx felt there was no prosecutable case here. In fact, none of this would be happening now if she hadn’t dropped the 16 felony charges against Smollett. Fortunately, it appears she won’t be involved in this case.