Lawyers for Jussie Smollett are asking that a federal judge preside over a lawsuit filed against him by Chicago city officials seeking to recoup more than $130,000 in police expenses.
Smollett’s lawyers filed a motion on Wednesday saying the fact that Smollett resides in California explains the need to move the lawsuit from the Cook County Circuit Court to the federal courthouse in Chicago, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The City of Chicago’s lawsuit seeks to recoup more than $130,000 that police expended in overtime investigating Smollett’s report of a hate crime on Jan. 29, 2019. The case became national news after Smollett claimed that he had been attacked near his home by two men who screamed racist and homophobic slurs and placed a noose around his neck.
Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct after an investigation revealed two brothers, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, said that the “Empire” actor had paid them $3,500 to stage the attack
Criminal charges were later dropped against Smollett by State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office. Since then, the city has filed a lawsuit against Smollett and appointed a special prosecutor on the case who still might bring up criminal charges against Smollett.
In appointing the special prosecutor, Judge Michael Toomin let it be known that he believes Smollett is guilty of concocting the attack.
“The principal character, Jussie Smollett, is an acclaimed actor known to the public from his performances in the television series, ‘Empire.’ But his talents were not destined to be confined to that production,” Toomin wrote, according to the Sun-Times. “Rather, in perhaps the most prominent display of his acting potential, Smollett conceived a fantasy that propelled him from the role of a sympathetic victim of vicious homophobic attack to that of a charlatan who fomented a hoax the equal of any twist television intrigue.”
It is unclear when a judge will rule on the motion to move the case to federal court.