The legal team for embattled “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is taking a tough stance in the actor’s battle with the city of Chicago over the cost of its investigation into his apparently bogus claim that he was the victim of a hate crime.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Smollett’s lawyers responded to the threat of a lawsuit by the city by threatening to depose Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and other key figures in the case.
The Tribune quotes Smollett attorney Mark Geragos stating in the letter: “In light of their apparent vested interest in the matter, we are confident that Mayor Emanuel and Superintendent Johnson will not object to providing their testimony under oath.”
The letter, dated April 4, was reportedly addressed to the city’s corporation counsel. It adds: “Mr. Smollett’s preference remains, however, that this matter be closed and that he be allowed to move on with his life.”
The city has demanded that Smollett pay the city $130,106 to cover the cost of police overtime hours spent on the investigation into his allegations.
“The letter warned that if Smollett did not pay by Thursday [April 4], the city might sue,” the Tribune reports. “In response, Geragos wrote that Smollett ‘will not be intimidated into paying the demanded sum.’”
The paper also quotes the letter stating: “Mr. Smollett vehemently denies making any false statements. Your claim that Smollett filed a false police report and orchestrated his own attack is false and defamatory.”
The Tribune adds: “If the city files suit, the letter states, Smollett’s attorneys would demand to see all the evidence from the criminal case, including that which was not turned over to the defense before charges were dropped, and the legal team would ask that all records and legal proceedings be open to the public.”