CHICAGO — Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx described actor Jussie Smollett as a “washed up celeb who lied to cops” in texts to her staff.
“Sooo……I’m recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases …16 counts on a class 4 (felony) becomes exhibit A,” she wrote on the same day that a Cook County grand jury indicted Smollett on disorderly conduct charges.
Foxx went on to make a comparison between Smollett’s case and another.
“Pedophile with 4 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.”
“It’s not who we want to be.”
Those texts and other communications between Foxx, her staff at the state attorney’s office and people outside their office were obtained by CNN through an open records request.
Foxx said in a statement released Tuesday that she had reached out to Joseph Magats, the first assistant state’s attorney, after Smollett’s indictment “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,” Foxx added.
The materials shed light into the frustrations and pressure that Foxx’s office was facing as it handled the Smollett case.
Last month, the state’s attorney’s office dropped 16 felony charges against the “Empire” actor, who was accused of staging a hate crime against himself in Chicago. Smollett agreed to forfeit $10,000 in bail and do community service.
As the news broke that all charges were dropped, Foxx’s staff scrambled to handle media requests and faced criticism from Chicago police.
“Just wish I could have anticipated the magnitude of this response and planned a bit better,” Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier wrote in a text message.
Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard will be conducting an investigation of how Foxx’s office handled the case.
The prosecutor has said she was never actively involved in the case because the crime was the lowest level of felony, but she did get updates until an email from the chief ethics officer went out to her staff, instructing them not to include her in discussions about the investigation.