We already knew Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx felt that Jussie Smollett was being charged too harshly for allegedly lying to police about being the victim of a hate crime, and how she had a big hand in prosecutors dropping the charges against him.
What we didn’t know was how badly she shaded the “washed up celeb” in the process!
Now we do, thanks to hundreds of emails and texts about the investigation that CBS Chicago has obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. (Yes, the legal system can still work in the public’s favor!)
About two weeks before prosecutors made the shocking decision to drop all the charges against the Empire star, Foxx texted her staff a few reasons why they should consider letting him off the hook. Making it clear she believed the 16 counts of disorderly conduct against Smollett were a bit too dramatic, Foxx, who had recused herself from the case, told her colleagues:
“Sooo……I’m recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases…16 counts on a class 4 becomes exhibit A.”
To illustrate her point, the State’s Attorney compared Smollett’s case with that of accused pedophile and sex cult leader, R. Kelly… and somehow wound up shading Smollett more. She wrote:
“Pedophile with four victims 10 counts. Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16. On a case eligible for deferred prosecution I think it’s indicative of something we should be looking at generally. Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should.”
…and they didn’t!
Prosecutors dropped the charges against Smollett after he agreed to forfeit his $10,000 and performed 16 hours of community service. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office stated in an email at the time:
“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.”
As for why Foxx was communicating with staffers about the case after recusing herself, she offered the following explanation:
“After the indictment became public, I reached out to Joe to discuss reviewing office policies to assure consistencies in our charging and our use of appropriate charging authority. I was elected to bring criminal justice reform and that includes intentionality, consistency, and discretion. I will continue to uphold these guiding principles.”
The principled decision enraged many; particularly, the Chicago Police Department, who insisted they had lots of evidence proving that Smollett had paid his two attackers to stage the so-called hate crime on him back in January.
Authorities argue that each of the 16 counts Smollett was slapped with covers various alleged acts that the actor (again, allegedly) falsely described to the officers in his report — including that he was hit by two men, that they yelled racial and homophobic slurs, put a noose around his neck, and poured a chemical on him.
Police claim, in actuality, Smollett had paid Ola and Abel Osundairo to stage the attack as a publicity stunt because the actor was upset about his salary on Empire.
So, essentially it looks like prosecutors didn’t actually believe the actor’s story: they just felt it wasn’t worth their time prosecuting it.
The city of Chicago, however, has plenty of time on its hands….
[Image via WENN]