Jussie Smollett “will not be intimidated into paying” $130,106.15 to reimburse Chicago for investigating his claim he was the victim of a hate crime, his attorneys say.
The city’s demand for payment is meant to “harass and irreparably injure Mr. Smollett,” his attorneys said in a letter to the city Thursday.
The letter was shared with CNN by Chicago’s Department of Law.
Last week, city spokesman Bill McCaffrey said Smollett must pay within seven days “to help offset the costs of the investigation” into his alleged attack.
The demand was made after a prosecutor dropped all charges against the “Empire” actor. Smollett, who is black and gay, had been accused of staging the attack on himself to bolster his profile and career.
Smollett missed that deadline on Thursday, and McCaffrey said the city was drafting a lawsuit against Smollett.
Smollett “vehemently denies making any false statements to the City of Chicago, or to any individuals investigating the January 29, 2019 attack on him,” wrote his attorney Mark Geragos. “All criminal charges against Mr. Smollett from this incident have been dismissed and his record has been sealed.”
Suing Smollett would be unconstitutional, Geragos said, adding that “any future prosecution” would amount to “double jeopardy.”
If the city sues, Geragos wrote, Smollett’s attorneys would demand case files and depositions of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, among others.
“Mr. Smollett’s preference remains, however, that this matter be closed and that he be allowed to move on with his life,” Geragos said.