She Recused Herself From Smollett Case, Then Texted About It

E. JASON WAMBSGANS  AFP  Getty Images

"It's not who we want to be".

Chicago's top prosecutor injected herself into the criminal case of "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett after saying she had recused herself, texting her deputy that Smollett was a "washed up celeb" who had been overcharged. "16 counts on a class 4 becomes exhibit A", Foxx wrote at the start of the exchange.

Smollett, an actor on the Fox show Empire, was accused of faking a hate crime against himself and was charged with 16 felony counts.

Protestors organized by the Fraternal Order of Police call for the removal of Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx on April 01, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.

But she weighed in on March 8, sending a text to her first assistant that said: "Pedophile with 4 victims, 10 counts".

Just over two weeks later on March 26, prosecutors announced they would drop all charges against Smollett - though Magats admitted "I do not believe he is innocent".

Foxx and Magats continued to discuss the case, including the news that embattled lawyer Michael Avenatti wanted to join the defense. But a week later the head of the State's Attorney's Appellate Division issued a memo stating his opinion that if Foxx recused herself, Foxx didn't get to pick who took over the prosecution, and it was up to the court to appoint a special prosecutor.

Her office released 178 pages of texts and 3,655 pages of emails, and some of those messages expose her private opinions on the case-one that she recused herself from in February.

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Texts messages from State's Attorney Kim Foxx to staff about two weeks before charges were dropped on Jussie Smollett.

It appears that CPD officials got far less input into the decision to drop charges against Smollett.

Magats replied that he could "see where that can be seen as excessive". "Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16 (counts)", she wrote.

Meanwhile, Inspector General Patrick Blanchard will open his own probe into the Cook County State's Attorney's handling of the case.

Foxx said she told Johnson that Smollett's charges were dismissed since he completed community service and turned over his bond money - $10,000 - to the city.

"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", the statement said. "I was elected to bring criminal justice reform and that includes intentionality, consistency, and discretion". The decision to drop charges sparked outrage, and was followed by a civil suit by the city of Chicago against Smollett seeking to force the actor to reimburse the city for police department overtime expenses.

Her office declined to comment on the specifics of the case, citing an ongoing review.

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