As Jussie Smollett’s alleged hate crime continues to be investigated by police, an Illinois district attorney just raised eyebrows by recusing herself from the case.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx added another bombshell to the ongoing investigation of the “Empire” actor’s claim that he was attacked in a racial and homophobic assault last month in Chicago.
As a grand jury convenes to investigate Smollett’s claims, a spokesperson for Foxx indicated that the recusal was due to “potential questions of impartiality” in the case, FOX 32 Chicago reported. First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats is set to take over the case as acting state’s attorney.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the decision to recuse herself was made to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case,” a spokesperson for Foxx said, according to FOX 32.
Foxx, the first African-American woman to hold the office she was elected to in 2016, gave no further reason for the decision, but it sparked much speculation on Twitter.
I’m told this is why Kim Foxx recused in the Smollett case https://t.co/qEJp6Nz3IM
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) February 20, 2019
The announcement came as the Chicago Police Department dismissed a tip that Smollett was seen in an elevator in his apartment building the night of the alleged attack along with the two Nigerian brothers who were later arrested and released.
CPD has confirmed that a tip this morning about a sighting at the residential towers of individuals involved in this alleged incident is unfounded as it was not supported by video evidence obtained by detectives.
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 19, 2019
Anthony Guglielmi, chief communications officer for the Department, tweeted that the tip was “unfounded.”
Smollett alleged that on Jan. 29 he was attacked by two men who hurled racial and anti-gay slurs at him, put a rope around his neck and also poured a liquid on him while shouting, “This is MAGA country!” The actor’s claims unraveled as police investigations led them to arrest then release two Nigerian brothers who were at first deemed suspects but later considered to have been paid by the actor to stage the attack.
On Tuesday, the two men along with their attorney, Gloria Schmidt, appeared at the Cook County courthouse where they were “ushered in and out of the building in total secrecy,” according to FOX 32. Schmidt had no comment when asked about the case as she reportedly was seen leaving a room marked “Grand Jury.”
The men allegedly did not testify before the grand jury but were “cooperating” in an apparent effort “to build a case against Smollett,” the news outlet reported.
Smollett could face up to three years in prison if he is found guilty of filing a false police report, a felony in Illinois. He could also be facing federal charges if investigators in a separate probe find he had something to do with the hate letter that was sent to him at the “Empire” studios.
In a separate incident, court documents revealed that Smollett was convicted for DUI and providing a police officer with false information in Los Angeles in 2007, according to WLS-TV. With three misdemeanor charges, the actor was sentenced to two years of probation.
Smollett and his attorneys have denied that the alleged attack was staged.
“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” his attorneys, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, said in a statement last week.
Meanwhile, Foxx’s decision to recuse herself was another plot twist in the ongoing story which left many on social media with more questions than answers.
Had to be a good reason for her to recuse and why didn’t she recuse 3 weeks ago!
— 🇺🇸PolitiShox 😏😏🇺🇸⚜️#RachaelMAGA⚜️ (@PolitiShox) February 20, 2019
Foxx is associated to Harris, Harris is associated to Smollett., Which Dems had knowledge prior, during, after or participated? Harris piled on top of the manufactured hate crime immediately to push her political bill. Many DC Dems piled jumped on it immediately too. Questions pic.twitter.com/C43UL58iqZ
— Loved & Imperfect🇺🇸† (@RayneNGrace) February 20, 2019
Does Kim Foxx know Jussie Smollet?! Why has she recused herself?! #Chicago
— My Kind Of Mom-Kelly Nationality: Chicago (@dancingvalentin) February 19, 2019
That raises more questions.
— The Einstein of Nothing (@EinsteinNothing) February 20, 2019
Kim Foxx only recused herself so that she won’t have to do the job she was elected to do. It is simply due to the political correctness coursing through her veins. To me this says @JussieSmollett is most certainly guilty.#JussieSmollett #JussieHoax https://t.co/Ac5AZRx5SM
— Bobby O’Brien (@BobbyOB1776) February 20, 2019
She’s probably part of the resistance movement. She knows damn we’ll he’s screwed, but doesn’t want to be the one to take him down.
— Jonh Fischer (@FischerJonh) February 20, 2019
This case is a political hot potato
— A Guy (@AGuyinBflo) February 20, 2019