Jussie Smollett Files Counterclaim Against Chicago, Says Prosecution Was Malicious

Jussie Smollett after his court appearance -March 26, 2019 -Getty-H 2019
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Smollett’s attorneys claim the actor was the victim of a prosecution that caused humiliation and extreme distress.

Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett says his $10,000 payment after the close of a criminal case should prevent Chicago from seeking reimbursement for a police investigation of his claim that he was a victim of a racist and homophobic attack.

Smollett’s attorneys filed a response Tuesday to Chicago’s lawsuit in federal court. They also filed a counterclaim against the city, several Chicago Police Department officers, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, and brothers Abimbola Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo, saying Smollett was the victim of a malicious prosecution that caused humiliation and extreme distress.

Smollett told police he was beaten in January by two men who looped a noose around his neck. Chicago police said it was staged, and Smollett was charged with making a false report.

But prosecutors in March dropped the case. Smollett maintains his innocence but agreed to let authorities keep a $10,000 bail.

A rep for Ola and Abel Osundairo, the brothers involved in Smollett's case who have filed a federal lawsuit against the star's attorneys for defamation, called Smollett's counterclaim a "sad attempt" to falsely smear the city.

"This is just another sad attempt by Jussie Smollett to try and falsely smear the Osundario brothers, the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department. There is no legal merit to his claims, and could be sanctionable," said Gloria Schmidt in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "The Chicago brothers were open and honest with the Chicago Police Department, testified under oath in front of a Grand Jury, and stand ready to do so again, in open court, if and when called upon to do so."

Nov. 20, 9 a.m.: Updated to include rep statement for the Osundario brothers.