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Jussie Smollett's lawyer says the "Empire" actor won't be "intimidated" into paying the city of Chicago more than $130,000 for resources the police department used to investigate an alleged racist and homophobic attack on him.
Last month, the City of Chicago Department of Law sent Smollett a letter demanding he pay $130,106.15 to cover the costs of the police investigation.
"Your letter constitutes part of a course of conduct intended to harass and irreparably injure Mr. Smollett," the actor's lawyer Mark Geragos wrote in a letter Thursday responding to the department's request. "Your letter is both factually and legally flawed, and Mr. Smollett will not be intimated into paying the demanded sum."
The actor and singer, who is black and gay, was indicted last month on 16 felony counts for allegedly filing a false police report on Jan. 29 when he told officers 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.
Smollett, 36, became a suspect in the case and was arrested in February after police said he paid brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo to allegedly beat him up because he was unhappy with his salary on "Empire."
Charges against the actor were dropped on March 26, prompting immediate outrage from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.
During an interview a day after prosecutors dismissed the charges, 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.
The city's law department said Thursday that because it had not received the requested funds they were planning to sue.
Smollett's legal team said that threats of a lawsuit were "unconstitutional" and any attempts to further prosecute him would violate double jeopardy, which says a person cannot be prosecuted twice for the same crime. If the city does move ahead with a lawsuit, Geragos said he will demand sworn depositions from Emanuel, Johnson and the Osundairo brothers.
"Mr. Smollett's preference remains, however, that this matter be closed and that he be allowed to move on with his life," the letter states.