Jussie Smollett’s lawyer responded to the city of Chicago’s threat to sue the actor by saying that the actor “will not be intimidated.” In the letter, Smollett’s legal team suggests that they may counter-sue the city for defamation if it moves forward with the suit to collect the $130,000 payment to cover investigative costs that the city has demanded, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Attorney Mark Geragos sent a strong letter to the city threatening to depose Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, and several other key individuals in the saga.
“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,” he said. “Mr. Smollett’s preference remains, however, that this matter be closed and that he be allowed to move on with his life.”
The letter says that Smollett “will not be intimidated into paying the demanded sum” and goes on to say that the Empire actor continues to deny that he made a false police report after allegedly being attacked.
“Mr. Smollett vehemently denies making any false statements,” the letter reads, “Your claim that Smollett filed a false police report and orchestrated his own attack is false and defamatory.”
The letter comes after the city announced that it was preparing the paperwork to sue Smollett after a deadline was set and missed to pay the demanded $130,000 to cover the costs of the investigation. The city intends to seek more than $390,000 in damages from the actor, according to Deadline.
If the city does move forward with the suit, according to the letter, Smollett’s legal team would ask to see all of the city’s evidence, much of which was never turned over to the defense team before the charges were dropped against Smollett. They would also ask that the evidence is made public and ask for sworn testimonies from the two brothers who are accused of staging the attack with the actor.
The controversy erupted last week when Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office announced that it was dropping all charges against the actor, who had agreed to forfeit his bail money as part of the agreement.
Emanuel and Johnson were both caught off-guard by the announcement and condemned the move. Emanuel called the situation a “whitewash of justice” and said that the city’s case against Smollett was solid.