Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 
By Minyvonne Burke

The city of Chicago wants "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett to pay it $130,000 to help cover the costs of a police probe into an alleged racist and homophobic attack on him, a spokesman for the city's legal department said Thursday.

"The city feels this is a reasonable and legally just amount to help offset the cost of the investigation," Bill McCaffrey, spokesman for the legal department, said.

Earlier Thursday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Smollett should cover the costs of the police department's investigation into his claimed attack.

The actor's attorneys fired back at Emanuel, saying in a statement that the mayor and the police department owe Smollett an apology "for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud."

"Jussie has paid enough," his lawyers said.

Smollett was indicted earlier this month on 16 felony counts for allegedly filing a false police report about the alleged attack.

On Tuesday, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office dropped all charges.

Jussie Smollet leaves court after state prosecutors dropped charges against him in Chicago on March 26, 2019.Kamil Krzaczynski / Reuters

Smollett, who is black and gay, told police Jan. 29 that two masked men hurled racist and homophobic slurs before attacking him, putting a noose around his neck and pouring what he said was bleach on him.

Two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, were arrested during the investigation but later released by police. Smollett, 36, was taken into custody in February after police said he paid the brothers $3,500 via a check to attack him because he was unhappy with his salary on "Empire."

Smollett said during a brief news conference after the charges were dismissed that he has been "truthful" from the beginning.

Emanuel said Smollett's paying the city back for what it spent on the police probe would — "in a small way" —be an acknowledgment from the actor that he is guilty.

"Our officers did a great job. They took a crime that was called a hate crime for sexual orientation and for race. They took it seriously. They dedicated their resources to deal with it, to find out who perpetrated it and we found out that the person calling the police was the perpetrator," he said. "That is what the grand jury believed."

The mayor said Thursday that Smollett "doesn't feel any sense of contrition and remorse."

"My recommendation is when he writes the check, in the memo section he can put the word ‘I'm accountable’ for the hoax," Emanuel said.

The letter from the city’s legal department said it is seeking immediate payment of $130,106.15 for overtime hours in the investigation, and suggests that legal action could follow if it is not paid.

"The City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department take seriously those who make false statements to the police, thereby diverting resources from other investigations and undermining the criminal justice system,” the letter says.

"Ultimately, the Chicago police investigation revealed that you knowingly filed a false police report and had in fact orchestrated your own attack," the letter alleges.

President Donald Trump said in a tweet Thursday that the FBI and the Department of Justice will review Illinois prosecutors' decision to dismiss the charges, calling it "an embarrassment for our Nation!"

Emanuel also lashed out at Trump, saying during a news conference Thursday afternoon that the president shouldn't be weighing in on the Smollett case.

"The only reason Jussie Smollett thought he could take advantage of a hoax about a hate crime is [because of] the toxic environment that Donald Trump created," he said, calling out Trump for drawing a "moral equivalency between people who are trying to perpetuate bigotry and those who are trying to fight bigotry."

"President Trump should literally take his politics, move it aside," he said.

Amanda Sidman contributed.