Jussie Smollett hate crime case contained ‘operational failures’
The actor is accused of staging a racist, homophobic attack against himself in Chicago in January 2019.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and her office are being called out once again over the handling of the controversial Jussie Smollett hate crime case.
Special Prosecutor Dan Webb noted in a statement on the conclusions of his investigation into Foxx’s management, the “substantial abuses of discretion” used by the attorney and her assistant prosecutors. According to Webb, however, they did nothing criminal, The Huffington Post reports.
“Aside from him coming out with an actual criminal charge against her, it’s about as devastating a report as a sitting state’s attorney can have leveled against them,” Cook County Republican Chairman Sean Morrison said of Webb’s findings.
Smollett is accused of staging a racist, homophobic attack against himself in Chicago in January 2019. The former Empire star has since maintained that the attack was real and wasn’t a publicity hoax.
Foxx was inundated with death threats after her office dropped 16 criminal charges against Smollett last year, The Chicago Sun-Times reports. Webb ultimately resorted the charges against the embattled star. theGrio also previously noted that after Foxx recused herself from the case, she was accused of stirring the pot via messages to her colleagues.
In messages, Foxx said to First Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Joe Magats, who took over the case after she reportedly stepped down, that “I’m recused.” She then expressed her disapproval over the number of charges against Smollett.
“Sooo …… I’m recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases … 16 counts on a class 4 becomes exhibit A,” Foxx wrote in her March 8th messages.
Part of Webb’s investigation was taking a deeper look into whether Foxx acted improperly by meeting with a Smollett relative and Michelle Obama before the charges were dropped.
Foxx, the first Black woman to hold Chicago’s top cop job, was widely criticized by her peers, critics and the public for her actions.
Webb’s statement said his investigation “did not develop evidence that would support any criminal charges against State’s Attorney Foxx or any individual working at (her office).” But it “did develop evidence that establishes substantial abuses of discretion and operational failures” in how Smollett’s case was handled, the report states.
Former Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine said Foxx will have to answer for her handling of the case up until the November election, when she faces off against Republican Pat O’Brien.
“It’s a very unusual election process with all these things going on,” Devine said. “Everything is remote right now, so it’s difficult to place it in the context of a normal campaign … but I think there are questions that are there and I think the media is going to point them out. … What impact it will have in these unusual circumstances is really very difficult to say right now, but it’s an issue, and it’s going to remain an issue. It’s not going to go away, I don’t think.”
Meanwhile, Foxx’s office issued a statement rejecting Webb’s “characterizations of its exercises of prosecutorial discretion and private or public statements as ‘abuses of discretion’ or false statements to the public.”
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