In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, his attorney tried to turn the tables and hold his former alleged complices, the Osundairo brothers, the City of Chicago, and Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson, responsible for his client’s incurred costs, loss of job opportunities, and public defamation.
Smollett claimed he was attacked in January on his way home from a Chicago Subway sandwich shop at approximately 2 a.m. by two masked light-skinned men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him, screaming “This is MAGA country” and tying a rope around his neck.
Chicago police launched an extensive investigation into the matter, but after some weeks came to the conclusion that Smollett had staged the whole event to generate publicity to boost his career.
They had established that the two attackers were his accomplices, two Nigerian brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo who Smollett knew from Empire. A surveillance video surfaced of the brothers in a shop buying the rope that was allegedly used in the attack.
“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,” Smollet’s lawsuit states, according to the Daily Mail.
Investigators pointed out Smollett paid $3,500 to one of the brothers, but Smollett attested it was meant for the purchase illegal herbal steroids in Nigeria.
The municipality had ordered Smollett to reimburse the expenses of the investigation—roughly $130,000.
Chicago had formerly filed a lawsuit against Jussie Smollett on April 11 in a bid to recoup the cost of the investigation that authorities said was orchestrated by the “Empire” actor as a publicity stunt.
The 12-page civil lawsuit, filed in Cook County court, was their latest volley in a legal battle that shows no signs of abating.
The lawsuit didn’t specify the amount of money the city was seeking but did indicate it wanted over $390,000 plus “further relief as this Court deems just and equitable.”
The city’s resolve to take Smollett to civil court followed a surprising decision by prosecutors in March to drop all criminal charges accusing him of staging the incident, saying they believed they could prove the charges but that it wasn’t worth the time and expense.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.