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City plans to sue Jussie Smollett after he misses deadline to pay police costs

Jussie Smollett listens as his attorney, Patricia Brown Holmes, speaks to reporters last week. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The city of Chicago is getting ready to take Jussie Smollett to court in an effort to recoup the Chicago Police Department’s overtime costs that piled up during its investigation of the alleged hate crime he reported.

City attorneys are drafting the civil complaint that will be filed “in the near future” in Cook County Circuit Court, Chicago Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey wrote in a statement released Thursday evening.

Last week, the city imposed a seven-day deadline for Smollett to repay the $130,106.15 of incurred costs and threatened legal action under city municipal codes if he failed to do so. The deadline came and passed on Thursday.

“The Law Department will file the suit in the near future. As part of this legal action, the Law Department will pursue the full measure of damages allowed under the ordinance,” McCaffrey wrote in the statement. “Once it is filed, the Law Department will send a courtesy copy of the complaint to Mr. Smollett’s Los Angeles-based legal team.”

Smollett’s attorneys did not immediately comment.

The city said more than a dozen detectives spent hundreds of hours investigating Smollett’s claim that he was a victim of a racial and homophobic attack Jan. 29 in Streeterville. Smollett was later charged with staging the attack.

The charges were dropped last week by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office, which said it was pursuing an alternative form of prosecution. That move was decried by CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel as a “whitewash of justice.”