Chicago police officers accused Smollett of faking the claims that he was the victim of a homophobic and racist hate crime in January. While he was cleared by a criminal court in March, the city of Chicago and its police department sued him for the $130,000 they spent to investigate his claim.
The city’s lawsuit claims the actor “submitted a false police report” and seeks a fine of $1,000 “for each false statement he made” and damages equaling at least the $130,106 spent by the department in overtime pay.
However, Smollett’s lawyers filed a motion on Wednesday (September 4) that claims he should not be held liable for the funds behind the 1,836 hours police spent investigating the hate crime.
“The filing of a police report, in and of itself, does not necessitate a sprawling investigation nor does it, as a practical matter, usually result in an investigation as extensive as the one the CPD chose to undertake in this case,” the motion says. “[The city of Chicago] has failed to allege that Mr. Smollett was similarly ‘well aware’ that his statements to police would result in 1,836 hours of police overtime, or any other reasons why he should have known this would have been the case.”
“My client from the beginning has maintained his innocence and disputed the city’s allegations,” William J. Quinlan, Smollett’s lawyer, said. “The mere fact somebody filed a police report doesn’t presume the investigation will be done and certainly not to the extent of what the city is claiming. Smollett has no control over that.”