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Jussie Smollett asked to pay city of Chicago $130,000 for cost of investigation

By Brian Pascus, CBS News

A lawyer for the city of Chicago said Thursday the city is seeking $130,00 from actor Jussie Smollett as restitution for the cost of the investigation he initiated. Smollett had been charged with 16 felony counts for allegedly lying to Chicago police about being victim of a hate crime, but all the charges were dropped earlier this week in a controversial decision made by the Cook County state’s attorneys office.

In a letter signed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s senior legal adviser Edward Siskel and addressed directly to Smollett, the city claims Smollett’s “false statements” led to police “diverting resources from other investigations and undermining the criminal justice system.”

Smollett has maintained his innocence and told reporters Tuesday after his charges had been dropped that he’s been “truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”

The letter claims the the “Chicago police investigation revealed that you knowingly filed a false police report and had in fact orchestrated your own attack,” and requests from Smollett an “immediate payment of the $130,160.15 expended on overtime hours in the investigation of this matter,” to be paid within seven days.

The letter was sent to Smollet’s attorney Patricia Brown Holmes’ office in downtown Chicago.

If Smollett fails to pay the City of Chicago Corporate Counsel, the letter states he faces prosecution by the Department of Law and a fine of no less than $500 and a maximum of $1,000, “plus up to three times the amount of damages the city sustains as a result of the violation.”

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said Tuesday it was dropping the charges “after reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.”

The city spent more than $150,000 on his case.

The 36-year-old Smollett, who is Black and openly gay, told police he was attacked by two masked men when he was returning home from a Subway sandwich store Jan. 29 around 2 a.m. Police arrested two brothers who they initially linked to the alleged attack, claiming the brothers told them Smollett had paid them $3,500 to stage the attack.

Producers of the Fox show “Empire,” in which Smollett plays Jamal Lyon, might make his two episode suspension permanent, CBS News’ Dean Reynolds reports.

Meanwhile, Smollett has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award, which takes place Saturday in Hollywood, according to CBS Los Angeles. It is unclear if he will be in attendance.

This year will be the fourth time Smollett has been nominated for the Image Awards’ Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category, winning the award in 2017.

According to Variety, “Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson, who is hosting the award show for the sixth time, hopes to see Smollett there.

On Wednesday, Anderson told Variety, “I hope he wins … I’m happy for him that the system worked for him in his favor because the system isn’t always fair, especially for people of color. So I’m glad it worked out for him.”

Anderson went on to say, “It’s not my place or any other person’s place to judge him or what not, but I’m glad the he’s nominated,” Anderson concluded. “I hope he wins because I’d be interested to hear his speech.”

This article originally appeared on CBS News.

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