Prosecutors announced on March 26 that 16 felony counts filed against Smollett for filing a false police report were dropped because the actor completed 16 hours of community service and gave the city $10,000.
The dropped charges did not mean the actor was exonerated, the lead district attorney emphasized. Chicago police officials and Emanuel blasted the deal, with the mayor calling it a “whitewash of justice.”
Now Emanuel is weighing a lawsuit against the actor to try to recoup close to $150,000, according to CBS Chicago.
An analyst for the station said that he spoke with dozens of prosecutors and judges about the agreement and “every one of them was shaking their heads.”
“Never seen anything like it before,” analyst Irv Miller said. “it’s frankly outrageous.”
Emanuel said during a press conference that “The city saw its reputation dragged through the mud.”
“The financial cost, this $10,000, doesn’t even come close to what the city spent in resources to actually look over the cameras, go through data, gather all the information that actually brought the indictment by the grand jury,” Emanuel added.
If the city did sue Smollett, it would have a hard case, according to Miller. “They’d have a tough time because he’s still saying ‘I didn’t do anything wrong. You investigated this case, but I’m a victim. I’m not a bad guy.’ The city is out, chalk it up to experience, but they cannot chalk it up to the fact that there’s no deterrent for other people not to lie to the police department,” he said.
While prosecutors dropped the charges, there was no plea deal and Smollett has not admitted any wrongdoing, maintaining his innocence. Neither he nor his legal team explained how his initial description of his alleged attackers as white supporters of President Donald Trump lined up with him now saying two black Nigerian-American brothers who he had hired as trainers assaulted him.
The brothers told detectives that Smollett paid them to carry out the alleged attack, instructing one to pose as a Trump supporter.
While Emanuel considers whether to sue Smollett, the actor is considering suing the Chicago Police Department, Tina Glandian, one of his attorneys, said during an appearance on “Good Morning America” on March 27.
“We’re shocked at the mayor and the police superintendent doubling down when the prosecutor, after a dispassioned look at the evidence, realized it just does not hold up and chose to voluntarily dismiss all counts and expunge his record,” Glandian said.
Emanuel also appeared on the show and said he’s not done with the case.
— Rafer Weigel (@RaferWeigel) March 26, 2019
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 27, 2019
“The first part, I want to get to the bottom of it: Did he commit this hoax? That is the question that has to first be answered,” Emanuel said. “The second question is: What happened here that allowed the State’s Attorney’s Office—that was in the room with the police department when they decided to actually bring the charges to the grand jury that actually brought the indictments—what made them all of a sudden say, ‘You know what, on second thought, this is enough?'”
“This looks like because he’s an actor, a person of influence, he got treated differently than anybody else,” he added.
Joe Magats, the state attorney who led the case because his boss, State Attorney Kim Foxx, recused herself after speaking with a family member of Smollett before the actor was arrested, said that he believes, based on the evidence, that the actor is guilty despite dropping the charges.
“Our priority is violent crimes and the drivers of violence,” he told CBS, explaining why he dropped the charges. “Jussie Smollett is neither one of those.”