Judge tosses Smollett’s malicious prosecution lawsuit

Entertainment

FILE – In this March 26, 2019, file photo, actor Jussie Smollett talks to the media before leaving Cook County Court after his charges were dropped in Chicago. A special prosecutor decided to prosecute Smollett again, 11 months after county prosecutors dropped charges that the “Empire” actor hired two men to fake the attack to further his career. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty, File)

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed actor Jussie Smollett’s malicious prosecution lawsuit against the city of Chicago and several police officers.

The former “Empire” actor told police that he was beaten by two men who looped a noose around his neck and threw vile comments at him in an attack near his home in downtown Chicago in January last year. Chicago police said the attack was staged, and Smollett was charged with making a false report. Those charges were subsequently dropped with little explanation from prosecutors.

In April 2019, the city sued Smollett seeking reimbursement of more than $130,000 paid in overtime to police officers who were involved in investigating the alleged racist and homophobic attack on Smollett, who is black and gay.

Smollett countersued in November, saying the city couldn’t recover costs because it accepted $10,000 from Smollett “as payment in full in connection with the dismissal of the charges against him.” The lawsuit said Smollett had been the victim of a malicious prosecution that caused him humiliation and extreme distress.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall ruled Wednesday that Smollett can’t bring a malicious prosecution claim until all proceedings against him have ended.

Kendall was referring to the appointment of a special prosecutor in February, who indicted Smollett on six charges, including that he lied to police about the alleged attack.

She said the Chicago Police Department’s motive was bringing Smollett to justice ”for a crime it had probable cause to think he committed.”

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