Illinois Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who has caught a lot of heat since recusing herself from the Jussie Smollett investigation, is now defending her office’s decision to drop the charges against the actor.
In an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune, Foxx expressed openness to an outside review in the case that has caused a lot of tension in the city. She said she also believes that criticism being leveled against her is politically charged.
“Since it seems politically expedient right now to question my motives and actions, and those of my office, let me state publicly and clearly that I welcome an outside, non-political review of how we handled this matter,” Foxx wrote in the Friday night op-ed. “I am not perfect, nor is any other prosecutor out there, but ensuring that I and my office have our community’s trust is paramount.”
The Chicago prosecutor’s office has caused quite a bit of controversy after they abruptly dropped the 16 felony charges against Smollett after the police claimed he staged the racist and homophobic attack on himself in January. According to Page Six, Foxx “colloquially” recused herself from any decision-making in the case, because she had been put in touch with a member of Smollett’s family days after the alleged attack via prominent Chicago attorney and Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff, Tina Tchen and tried to convince the FBI to take over the case.
In her op-ed, Foxx noted that her office’s decision to throw out the charges were based on the fact that a conviction in the case was uncertain. Page Six also reports that Foxx believes that the community’s anger at Smollett was not a valid basis for going forward with the case.
“Yes, falsely reporting a hate crime makes me angry, and anyone who does that deserves the community’s outrage,” Foxx wrote. “But, as I’ve said since before I was elected, we must separate the people at whom we are angry from the people of whom we are afraid.”
She also went on to remind readers that just because the charges were dropped, doesn’t indicate that Smollett is innocent.
“Claims by Smollett or others that the outcome of this case has ‘exonerated’ him or that he has been found innocent are simply wrong,” Foxx wrote. “He has not been exonerated; he has not been found innocent.”
The FBI and Department of Justice are said to be now looking into the case.