The judge said Smollett’s claim cannot move forward until the first lawsuit is handled.
The city is still trying to recoup the $130,000 spent investigating what it calls a staged crime in January of 2019. Smollett was trying to avoid paying those fees.
Smollett’s counterclaim accused the City and CPD of ignoring key evidence that proved the actor’s claim of an attack. It accused then Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson of maliciously going after Smollett without probable cause.
“In the face of mounting public pressure to solve the high-profile attack on Mr. Smollett, Counterclaim-Defendant Johnson authorized the CPD…to file a complaint against Mr. Smollett on the basis of false and unreliable evidence from the Osundario Brothers.”
The judge, U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall, said that Smollett could not file a malicious prosecution claim until after all of the proceedings against him — including his February 2020 indictment on six counts for allegedly lying to police about the attack — has ended.
Kendall said that the Chicago Police Department was motivated to bring Smollett to justice “for a crime it had probable cause to think he committed.”
In January of 2019, Smollett claimed that he, an openly gay black man, was attacked in Chicago by two masked men who beat him, tied a rope around his neck and taunted him with racist and homophobic slurs.
Chicago police said the attack was staged, and Smollett was charged with making a false report. Those original charges were subsequently dropped with little explanation from prosecutors.