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Jussie Smollett suing Chicago for malicious prosecution

Jussie Smollett Image copyright Reuters

Empire actor Jussie Smollett is suing the city of Chicago over their actions against him.

Papers filed by his lawyers claim he's been caused "humiliation and extreme distress".

Authorities have accused him of staging a racist and homophobic attack on himself in January, something he's always denied.

They're trying to get him to pay $130,000 (£100,000) in costs to cover the time police spent investigating.

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Media captionJussie Smollett: An assault or a fake?

If you're new to this story, there are a lot of twists and turns to get your head around.

At the start of this year, police in Chicago announced they were investigating an attack on actor Jussie Smollett, who'd been punched in the face, had an "unknown chemical substance" poured on him and a rope wrapped around his neck.

Celebrities like Viola Davis, Janelle Monae and TI, alongside his Empire co-stars, tweeted messages of support.

But in February, Jussie Smollett himself was arrested.

Image copyright Chicago Police
Image caption The police photo of Jussie Smollett from 21 February 2019

Police claimed he'd paid two brothers to carry out the attack "to promote his career" because he was "dissatisfied with his salary".

But, in March, after an emergency court appearance, all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped.

His lawyer said his record "had been wiped clean", describing him as a "victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator".

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Media captionThis footage, released by police in June, was taken about seven hours after the alleged attack

But Chicago Police and the city's mayor stood by their case against Jussie Smollett - and accused the courts of letting him "off scot-free".

Then the man who decided to drop the charges, Illinois prosecutor Joe Magats, said even he thought Smollett was guilty.

But he explained the charges were dropped because Jussie paid $10,000 (£7,600) in bail to the courts and carried out community service.

And that's when the city of Chicago announced it was suing the actor for the money it spent investigating the attack.

Image copyright Fox
Image caption Jussie Smollett and Taraji P Henson as Jamal and Cookie Lyon in American drama Empire

In court documents filed this week, Jussie Smollett has called this action against him "malicious".

He's accused the city, police and others of causing "substantial economic damages as well as reputational harm, humiliation, mental anguish and extreme emotional distress," and says he's seeking compensation.

But a spokesperson for Chicago's law department has told the Reuters new agency that the city "stands by its original complaint".

He added: "We fully expect to be successful in defeating these counterclaims."

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