The City of Chicago says Jussie Smollett has refused to pay more than $130,000 US to reimburse the costs of investigating what authorities say was a staged racist, anti-gay attack against him.
The city’s law department also said in a statement Thursday that it will be drafting a lawsuit to be filed “in the near future” in response, and will sue the Empire actor in Cook County Civil Court.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s law chief sent Smollett a letter dated March 28 demanding he pay $130,106 — plus 15 cents — within seven days.
A suit could lead to a drawn-out battle in civil court that could end in a trial focused on the question of whether Smollett did or didn’t orchestrate the Jan. 29 attack.
Smollett, who is black and gay, maintains he has told the truth since reporting to police that two masked men assaulted him, shouting slurs and wrapping a rope around his neck.
On March 8, a Chicago grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 felony counts related to making a false report to police.
Last week, prosecutors had dropped all charges against him in a move Emanuel called a “whitewash.”
This story originally appeared on CBC