Law & the Courts

Chicago Sues Jussie Smollett for Cost of Police Overtime

Actor Jussie Smollett makes a court appearance at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago, Illinois, March 14, 2019. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/Pool via Reuters)

Outgoing mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration filed suit Thursday against Empire actor Jussie Smollett to recoup the cost of the police overtime dedicated to solving the hoax hate crime that Smollett allegedly staged against himself.

“The Law Department has filed a civil complaint against Mr. Smollett in the Circuit Court of Cook County that pursues the full measure of damages allowed under the false statements ordinance,” Department of Law spokesperson Bill McCaffrey said in a statement. “This follows his refusal to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on January 29, 2019.”

The Cook County state attorney’s office last month dropped all charges against Smollett without requiring that he admit to staging a bigoted, politically-motivated attack on himself. Smollett’s attorneys have since refused to pay the $1130,106 that police demanded and warned the city not sue for the money, writing in a letter sent last week that their client “will not be intimidated into paying the demanded sum.”

The lawsuit, which was obtained by the Chicago Tribune, lays out the evidence police recovered during their investigation, including the testimony provided by the two men Smollett allegedly hired to stage the attack, video evidence of those men buying the items used in the attack, and the checks Smollett made out to them for $3,500 for their services.

Cook County state attorney Kim Foxx’s decision to drop the 16-count indictment against Smollett despite that evidence has drawn harsh criticism from Emanuel, who called it a “whitewash of justice.” Police superintendent Eddie Johnson also lambasted the 37-year-old actor for damaging Chicago’s reputation and attacked Foxx for failing to punish the behavior.

Smollett’s lawyers maintain his innocence and, in the letter sent to the city last week, criticized Johnson and Emanuel for their reaction to the charges being dropped, writing that the pair owed their client an apology “for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud.”

Most Popular

White House

More Evidence the Guardrails Are Gone

At the end of last month, just as the news of the Ukraine scandal started dominating the news cycle, I argued that we're seeing evidence that the guardrails that staff had placed around Donald Trump's worst instincts were in the process of breaking down. When Trump's staff was at its best, it was possible to draw ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Elizabeth Warren Is Not Honest

If you want to run for office, political consultants will hammer away at one point: Tell stories. People respond to stories. We’ve been a story-telling species since our fur-clad ancestors gathered around campfires. Don’t cite statistics. No one can remember statistics. Make it human. Make it relatable. ... Read More
National Review


Today is my last day at National Review. It's an incredibly bittersweet moment. While I've only worked full-time since May, 2015, I've contributed posts and pieces for over fifteen years. NR was the first national platform to publish my work, and now -- thousands of posts and more than a million words later -- I ... Read More
Economy & Business

Andrew Yang, Snake Oil Salesman

Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur and gadfly, has definitely cleared the bar for a successful cause candidate. Not only has he exceeded expectations for his polling and fundraising, not only has he developed a cult following, not only has he got people talking about his signature idea, the universal basic ... Read More
White House

The Impeachment Defense That Doesn’t Work

If we’ve learned anything from the last couple of weeks, it’s that the “perfect phone call” defense of Trump and Ukraine doesn’t work. As Andy and I discussed on his podcast this week, the “perfect” defense allows the Democrats to score easy points by establishing that people in the administration ... Read More

Is America Becoming Sinicized?

A little over 40 years ago, Chinese Communist strongman and reformer Deng Xiaoping began 15 years of sweeping economic reforms. They were designed to end the disastrous, even murderous planned economy of Mao Zedong, who died in 1976. The results of Deng’s revolution astonished the world. In four decades, ... Read More