Jussie Smollett countersues city of Chicago for ‘maliciously prosecuting him in bad faith’


Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has filed a counter lawsuit against the city of Chicago, claiming that authorities “maliciously” prosecuted him after he claimed he was attacked by two masked assailants in January.

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The lawsuit, filed by Smollett’s attorneys in the Northern District of Illinois on Tuesday, claims that the city of Chicago “maliciously” prosecuted Smollett “in bad faith” and filed criminal charges against him “without probable cause.”

On Jan. 29, Smollett told police he was attacked near his Chicago apartment by two masked men who poured an “unknown chemical substance on him” and wrapped a rope around his neck. Smollett later told police in a follow-up interview that the assailants yelled “MAGA country,” reportedly in reference to President Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

As doubts about his story developed, police questioned two brothers in connection to the alleged attack, who told authorities Smollett allegedly paid them to help stage the crime.

Smollett was later indicted by a grand jury on 16 counts including felony disorderly conduct in relation to filing a false report.

The charges ignited a media firestorm around Smollett’s claims, but prosecutors, while maintaining that Smollett was guilty, dropped the felony disorderly charge against him in favor of an “alternative resolution” that involved him performing community service and forfeiting the remainder of his $10,000 bond to Cook County.

E. Jason Wambsgans/Getty Images, FILE
Jussie Smollet appears at a hearing for judge assignment with his attorney Tina Glandian, left, at Leighton Criminal Court Building, on March 14, 2019 in in Chicago.

The counter lawsuit was filed in response to a lawsuit the city filed against Smollett in April, requesting $130,000 in civil penalties, damages and attorney’s fees and costs arising from Smollett’s “false statements.”

A federal judge ruled last month that the city’s lawsuit against Smollett could proceed, despite a motion from his attorney’s to dismiss it.

Smollett’s attorneys denied that Smollett orchestrated and planned a fake attack and admonished the police department for continuing to imply that Smollett was guilty after the charges were dropped, according to the court documents.

The document also states that the city of Chicago “is not entitled to recover further costs for services” because Smollett already paid $10,000.

The lawsuit is seeking a jury trial and that Smollett be awarded compensatory and punitive damages, the amount of which will be determined at trial.

PHOTO: Actor Jussie Smollett emerges from the Cook County Court complex in Chicago, in this Feb. 21, 2019 file photo.Tannen Maury/EPA via Shutterstock
Actor Jussie Smollett emerges from the Cook County Court complex in Chicago, in this Feb. 21, 2019 file photo.

A representative for the office of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

“The City stands by its original complaint and will continue to pursue this litigation. The judge in this case has already ruled in our favor once and we fully expect to be successful in defeating these counterclaims,” a spokesperson for the Chicago Law Department told ABC News in a statement.

ABC News’ Chris Francescani and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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