Kim Foxx, Chicago’s top prosecutor, who was thrust in the national spotlight after dropping charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett, is fighting an effort to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate her office’s handling of the controversial case.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has publicly said she’d welcome an independent probe into her office’s decision to dismiss a 16-count indictment against Smollett, who is accused of staging a hate crime on himself.
However, Foxx filed a motion Tuesday opposing the demand for a special prosecutor made by retired appellate Judge Sheila O’Brien, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Foxx’s office filed two other motions on Tuesday. One seeks to quash subpoenas for Foxx and her top assistant Joseph Magats, and prevent O’Brien from requesting additional subpoenas. The other seeks the court’s permission to allow Foxx’s office and the county inspector general access to records that were sealed at the same hearing where prosecutors dropped all charges against Smollett.
The decision to drop the charges during an unannounced March hearing sparked outrage from the Chicago Police Department as well as outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel who blasted the move as a “whitewash of justice.”
“No plans for Jussie Smollett’s ‘Empire’ character to return as series is renewed,” Fox TV said. O’Brien’s petition calls out Foxx’s handling of the case for saying she recused herself in the early stages of the investigation. In fact, Foxx was in contact with a family member of Smollett only to claim recently that her recusal was not a recusal “in the legal sense,” which would have required her entire office to withdraw from the prosecution.
O’Brien claims Foxx’s comments and actions created “a perception that justice was not served here, that Mr. Smollett received special treatment.”
The Smollett case garnered national attention and underscored the idea that wealthy people are somehow above the law.
Smollett told police he was attacked on Jan. 29 around 2 a.m. as he was returning home from a sandwich shop in Chicago. He said two masked men shouted racial and anti-gay slurs, poured bleach on him, beat him and tied a rope around his neck. He claimed they shouted, “This is MAGA country” — a reference to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.