Jussie Smollett, the disgraced former co-star of the “Empire” television series, got another beatdown this week.
But instead of being set upon by two MAGA-hat wearing racist homophobes, this time Jussie got his ass kicked by U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Kendall who denied his motion to have the City of Chicago’s civil lawsuit against him dismissed.
Chicago is seeking to recoup the $130,106.15 of expenses it claims to have incurred for the 1,900 hours of overtime the police racked up investigating Smollett’s claim that he was attacked on January 22nd by two masked men who shouted racist and homophobic terms at him, assaulted him physically, poured bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck.
Smollett’s motion was considered to be a “Hail Mary pass” by most legal experts and courtroom observers because it was based on his assertion that he shouldn’t be required to reimburse the police department because he couldn’t possibly have known that it would actually investigate his complaint – and because the police took too much time to identify his alleged assailants.
After receiving Smollett’s complaint, the police department assigned several detectives to scour the neighborhood where the attack allegedly occurred for possible witnesses.
It also analyzed dozens of videos from surveillance cameras in the area – and interviewed store owners who might have sold the rope that was used to fashion the noose.
Eventually, the police identified the two men who carried out the alleged attack: Ola and Abel Osundairo.
After interrogating the brothers, the police announced that Smollett had paid them $3,500 to stage the fake attack.
Smollett was eventually charged with 16 felony counts related to his false police report.
But all of those charges were subsequently dismissed by Joe Magats who had been appointed as the Acting Cook County State’s Attorney.
The dismissal of the charges angered numerous community leaders and politicians.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson denounced Smollett – and said that he “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career”.
Then-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the dismissal of the charges inappropriate and unwarranted. “Where is the accountability of the system? You cannot have, because of a person’s position, one set of rules apply to them and another set of rules apply to everybody else”, Emanuel added.
Eventually, the city filed a federal lawsuit to recoup its $130,106.15 of overtime expenses. It is also seeking an additional $260,000 in punitive damages.
In addition to the pending civil lawsuit, Smollett may also be facing another round of criminal charges.
That’s because Cook County Judge Michael Toomin appointed former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb to serve as a Special Prosecutor to review the entire matter – including whether the decision to dismiss the charges against Smollett was influenced by the intervention of Tina Tchen, the former Chief of Staff for Michelle Obama.
Webb has yet to announce any results from his ongoing investigation.
Throughout this entire fiasco, Smollett has insisted that the attack was real – and that “every iota” of the information he provided is fully supported by evidence that the police already have in their possession.
Back in March, Smollett stated “I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since Day 1. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of”.
Smollett added that “This has been an incredibly difficult time; honestly, one of the worst of my entire life. But I am a man of faith and I’m a man that has knowledge of my history. And I would not bring my family, our lives or the [LGBTQ] movement through a fire like this. I just wouldn’t”.
Smollett is being represented in the case by Bill Quinlan, a well-known politically connected Chicago attorney.
Smollett’s Accuser, Eddie Johnson, Now Has His Own Problems
While Johnson was originally hailed as a hero for calling out Smollett for his fake attack claim, he is now facing his own problems.
Last week, the Superintendent was found asleep behind the wheel of his car after what he said were “a couple of drinks”.
Johnston was not tested for alcohol – and was even allowed to drive home after being awakened by police who had been called to the scene by an anonymous 911 caller.
Johnson claimed that he became ill because of his blood pressure medication – and that he had pulled over to rest until he felt better.
Johnson has asked the police department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs (BIA) to investigate the incident.
Does anyone want to guess what will be in the BIA’s report?
Smollett’s Protector, Kim Foxx, Running for Reelection
Meanwhile, Kim Foxx, the Cook County State’s Attorney who recused herself from the Smollett case and improperly appointed First Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Magats to serve in the non-existent position of Acting Cook County State’s Attorney, is running for re-election next month (Per the existing law, Foxx should have appointed a Special Prosecutor to oversee the case in conjunction with her recusal).
According to the most recent campaign finance reports, donations are pouring into her re-election campaign.
Most of Foxx’s $259,050 of contributions have come from local residents.
But she did receive a $100,000 donation from Michael Rubin, the owner of the Philadelphia 76ers NBA franchise – and the founder and co-chair of REFORM Alliance, an advocacy group for criminal justice reform (The Alliance also includes Jay Z, Meek Mill, and a variety of leaders from the business, entertainment, and sports industries).
Several white activists in the Chicago area and the local Fraternal Order of Police have held protests – and called for Foxx to resign.
But other community leaders – including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, former Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp, former Emanuel aide Tara Cooper, former Chairman of Johnson Publishing Company Linda Johnson Rice and Mahalia Ann Hines, mother of rapper Common – have publicly supported Foxx.
What’s the Likely Outcome for Smollett?
Smollett has pretty much disappeared over the past few months.
Except for an Instagram post last month at the start of the sixth and final season of “Empire”, Smollett has been much keeping himself under the radar.
Fortunately for him, Fox decided to pay him his full salary for season 6 even though he will not appear in any episodes.
That means Jussie will be collecting a cool $360,000 for doing absolutely nothing for a year.
But meanwhile, Smollett is continuing to rack up legal bills in the civil lawsuit with the City of Chicago (If that case actually goes to trial, those bills will likely run at least $500,000).
And meanwhile, the odds are that Dan Webb is going to recommend that new criminal charges be filed against Smollett for his fake report to the police (Smollett may not be the only one to be charged).
So, assuming that Smollett insists on going to trial on the new charges, he’ll probably run up at least $1,000,000 of additional legal fees on that case.
It’s s a good thing that Jussie will be receiving residuals from the “Empire” series for the rest of his life.
Because except for that $.40/hour he’ll be earning while he’s incarcerated in some Illinois state prison, that may be his only income for a while.