Evie Fordham on April 17, 2019
The Chicago Tribune obtained text messages that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx sent to her top deputy about actor Jussie Smollett’s indictment after Foxx recused herself.
“Sooo … I’m recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases…16 counts on a class 4 (felony) becomes exhibit A,” Foxx said in a March 8 text message to Cook County prosecutor Joseph Magats, The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday night.
Smollett, known for his role on the show “Empire,” was accused of orchestrating a fake hate crime against himself in Chicago in January. He claimed that two white men attacked him while he was walking home from a restaurant late at night. Smollett, who is gay, told police that the men poured a bleach-like substance on him and tied a rope around his neck like a noose while shouting racist and homophobic slurs.
“Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts. Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16 (counts),” Foxx texted Magats according to The Chicago Tribune. “Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should.”
A spokeswoman for Foxx told The Chicago Tribune that Foxx continued to communicate with Magats about Smollett after her recusal “to discuss reviewing office policies to assure consistencies in our charging and our use of appropriate charging authority.”
Foxx also texted Magats after Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who has criticized Smollett publicly, called her about the dopped charges.
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“Eddie just called. [He] needed to know how to answer questions from press,” Foxx wrote according to The Chicago Tribune. She said she told Johnson that Smollett’s completed community service and forfeited $10,000 in bond money played into the decision.
Foxx’s deputies were surprised by the widespread reaction to Smollett’s charges being dropped, the released text messages show according to The Chicago Tribune.
“Just wish I could have anticipated the magnitude of this response and planned a bit better!” Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier, the case’s lead prosecutor, texted Magats hours after the charges were dropped.
Lanier also surmised that Smollett’s team tipped off reporters to come to the courtroom after the charges were dropped.
“It appears as if Jussie’s press person may have notified the press,” Lanier texted spokespeople according to The Chicago Tribune.
Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard is investigating Foxx’s office’s handling of the case at her request, reported NPR.
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