Two deputies to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx are stepping down, though it is not clear whether their moves are related to the Jussie Smollett case, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
Foxx was widely criticized by the public after announcing on March 28th that her office was dropping charges that Smollett, 36, faked an alleged homophobic, racist attack against himself in Chicago in January. Smollett stars on the Fox series Empire. He’d been charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct.
Though Foxx’s decision generated heavy questioning from across the country and anger from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, one of the deputies says the decision is not related to his involvement in the Smollett case.
April Perry, the county’s first chief ethics officer, and Mark Rotert, prosecutor and civil lawyer involved with wrongful conviction claims, will both leave Foxx’s staff on May 3, according to letters obtained by the Sun-Times.
Perry has been with the office for two years and will take a job as general counsel with a tech startup, according to the newspaper.
Rotert, who also had been in his post two years, told the Sun-Times that his decision to leave was tied to an international trip he’d planned with his wife.
“(The Smollett case) had absolutely zero percent to do with my decision,” he told the news organization.
“I really felt I was in a unique position because I had been a prosecutor and I had worked in defense … and at the end of the day, when it was all said and done, I was going to go fishing,” he said. “I am just incredibly proud of the work we did. I think we have a (unit) that really should be a national model.”
Perry did not respond to the Sun-Times’ requests for comment.
In February, Perry said in a memo to the office that Foxx would be recusing herself from decision making in the Smollett case.
Rotert told the news organization that his only involvement with the case took place when he acted as a liaison between Foxx and the Cook County inspector general in arranging for an independent review of the case.