A federal judge on Tuesday declined to dismiss the city of Chicago’s lawsuit against former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall rejected a motion filed by Smollett’s attorneys, The Associated Press reported.
Smollett told police in January that two men attacked him and used racial and homophobic slurs as they put a noose around his head, prompting an investigation that included almost 1,900 hours of overtime for police officers. Chicago Police Department officials have since said Smollett planned the attack himself and demanded the actor pay for the investigation's costs.
Smollett was initially charged with 16 felony counts, which the Cook County state's attorney dropped, leading to outrage and sparking the current lawsuit. A special prosecutor was appointed in August to examine why the charges were dropped.
A spokesman for the city’s law department declined to comment to The Hill on Tuesday, saying the office does not comment on ongoing litigation.
William Quinlan, one of Smollett's lawyers, meanwhile, told The Hill that the judge's ruling is "not surprising," noting that dismissal is a "very high bar to reach."
"The pleadings are just the city’s side of the story," Quinlan said. "Now, Mr. Smollett will get to present his side of the case."
"Mr. Smollett has always maintained his innocence and is eager to have the complete facts of the case come out," he added. "He looks forward to taking depositions and otherwise bringing to light many of the facts that have been overlooked in the court of public opinion to date. Mr. Smollett is confident that once the full story is available he will be vindicated."
The Hill has also reached out to the Chicago Police Department for comment.