Smollett’s attorneys filed a lawsuit on Tuesday as a counterclaim to the city’s ongoing efforts to get him to cover the expenses incurred during their investigation into the staged attack.
Smollett says the $10,000 he was mandated to pay, after the criminal charges against him were mysteriously dropped, should prevent officials in Chicago from seeking reimbursement.
Dailymail.co.uk reports: In it, he admits being friends with Nigerian-descent brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo and even spending time with them in the days before the incident but insists it was because he planned to take a nutrition program at Abel’s direction.
It is the first time Smollett is laying bare his case in an extensive way since the scandal rocketed to notoriety in January this year.
Smolletts’s counterclaim – in response to the city demanding that he repay $130,000 in overtime – is against the brothers, the city, Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Detective Edward Wodnicki and ten other unnamed people.
In the 50-page lawsuit, he repeatedly denies orchestrating the attack or paying the brothers for it, and says the city charged him ‘without probable cause’, ‘maliciously’ and ‘in bad faith’.
He is asking for unspecified damages to be determined by a jury.
The lawsuit also alleges;
- Chicago PD detectives deliberately ignored other potential suspects – specifically white ones – that witnesses described seeing at the scene of the night of the attack
- The Osundairo brothers lied by confessing to their role in the alleged hoax ‘at the 11th hour’ and only to save themselves from prosecution
- Smollett wanted to talk to them secretly because he wanted them to bring him illegal herbal steroids from Nigeria after their trip
- The actor ‘to this day’ does not know who attacked him
‘Aside from the substantial reputational harm the Osundairo Brothers’ false statements have caused him, Mr. Smollett has also suffered and continues to suffer substantial economic losses, including but not limited to lost employment opportunities and mounting legal fees, as well as severe mental anguish and distress.
‘Mr. Smollett must also defend against the instant case by the City for investigative costs in a case in which he was the victim of a crime,’ his lawyers write.
Smollett takes aim at the police department for leaks about the investigation which he said were all false and says Chief Superintendent Eddie Johhnson went out of his way to perpetuate a ‘false narrative’.
Smollett says the entire case is based on the brothers’ confession and that it is unreliable because, he says, they lied to save themselves from prosecution.
Listing the dozens of allegations leveled against him by the department, he admits and denies them variously.
Smollett said it was true that he knew the brothers but insists he did not pay them to attack him, saying instead that a $3,500 check he gave Abel was for personal training and nutrition.
He also offers an explanation for one of the most suspicious text messages he sent Abel in the days before the attack – where he asked to discuss something face to face, ‘on the low’ – saying he wanted to talk about him bringing illegal herbal steroids back from Nigeria for him.
Police used the text as purported proof of his intention to discuss the hoax plot.
He also says that cops ignored the ‘loose ends’ in their story for the same purpose.
One such loose end, he writes, is that the police department said Smollett told them not to bring their cell phones to the attack and that they ‘complied’, but that a taxi driver and an Uber driver who transported them that night said they had phones and were using them.
The actor’s lawyers say that the notion Smollett had staged the attack came from only two places; untrust worthy websites and the brothers, under the instruction of their lawyer, Gloria Schmidt.
He claims that once they fed it to the cops, the police department worked to try to find evidence to support the theory and ignored all evidence that Smollett may be innocent.
The brothers, he said, only confessed to it after 47 hours of being held in custody because they were afraid they were about to be charged themselves.
Police could legally only hold them for 48 hours without charging or releasing them,
‘The “eleventh hour” change in the Osundairo Brothers’ story, stating that they had been involved in the attack on Mr. Smollett, and that the attack was a hoax orchestrated by Mr. Smollett, was false and self-serving to avoid criminal charges being filed against them, which was clearly not reliable,’ the lawsuit reads.
Smollett says it was inappropriate that they were not individually interviewed and he says it was their lawyer who gave them the idea to blame him.
He also claims that he ‘does not know’ if the brothers were even involved.
‘To this day, Mr. Smollett does not know what involvement, if any, the Osundairo Brothers had in the attack on him on January 29, 2019,’ the lawsuit reads.
Smollett also said that when the State’s Attorney dropped the charges against him, the case should have been closed.
As part of the agreement, he paid $10,000 which he says is sufficient reimbursement for the city.
In January, he claimed he was attacked as he walked home to his apartment in subzero temperatures by two unidentified assailants with ‘light’ skin who he claimed called him a ‘f****t’ and the N word.
After spending weeks investigating it, the Chicago Police Department stunned the public by stating it had been a hoax.
They claimed Smollett ordered the brothers to attack him and that he planned to use it as leverage to get a higher salary on Empire.
He was charged by a grand jury with 16 felony counts of lying to police but all of the charges were sensationally dropped by SA Kim Foxx’s office.
In exchange, Smollett did community service and paid $10,000. Foxx had been in touch with members of his family and had even semi-recused herself from the case by the time the deal was reached.
The outraged Chief of Police, Eddie Johnson, and former Mayor Rahm Emanuel were blindsided by the deal and later sued Smollett to try to get back some of the money they say was wasted investigating the allegedly bogus crime.
Smollett has been fired from Empire. He maintains his innocence.