Jussie Smollett May Sue, Or Get Sued, Following Exoneration

Jussie Smollett outside court
Nuccio DiNuzzo / Getty Images

Empire actor Jussie Smollett had all of the charges against him suddenly dropped Tuesday in a move that shocked observers and led to outraged reactions from the political and police leadership in Chicago.

Now, it appears, Smollett may be considering a lawsuit.

Appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America, Smollett attorney Tina Glandian said that “we’re weighing our options now,” when asked by host George Stephanopoulos if that meant a lawsuit.

She added that “we’re shocked at the mayor and police superintendent doubling down yesterday” and that Smollett is looking forward to getting back to his acting career. Smollett has not been fired from Empire but was removed from the last few episodes of the current season.

It’s not clear who Smollett would sue. Meanwhile, Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, is considering suing Smollett in order to recoup the city resources that were spent while investigating the case, per CBS Chicago. Emanuel is scheduled to leave office later this spring. The TV station’s legal analyst said that while dropping the charges was unprecedented, the city government would also have a hard time recouping money in such a manner as proposed by the mayor.

The Smollett saga began in late January when Smollett claimed that he had been assaulted by two men on the streets of Chicago on one of the coldest nights of the year while they shouted anti-black and anti-gay slurs at the actor, who is both black and gay.

As police investigated, public doubt began building about Smollett’s story, including numerous leaks to the local media that came from police sources. Smollett continued to stick with his story that he had been attacked, with the police publicly stating that he was still considered a victim in the case.

Eventually, after two men claimed that Smollett had paid them to help stage the attack, Smollett was indicted on 16 counts related to what prosecutors called the filing of a false police report. The motive was reported that Smollett was seeking to get a raise in his salary on Empire.

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On Tuesday, the charges were suddenly dropped for reasons that remain somewhat mysterious. Smollett, speaking to the press after leaving court Tuesday, reiterated that he had been “truthful and consistent” throughout the entire process, per The Inquisitr.

A lawsuit, whether filed by Smollett or against him, would include discovery, and therefore likely require the actor to talk more about what happened the night of the alleged attack.