Lawyer, former Obama aide’s communications to prosecutor in Smollett case draw scrutiny

File photo December 2016, (l-r), Tina Tchen, Assistant to the President, Chief of Staff to the First Lady, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

With so many trying to understand Tuesday’s stunning development, where Chicago prosecutors dropped all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett despite what was considered a mountain of evidence, communications involving former first lady Michelle Obama’s then-chief of staff are drawing scrutiny.

Tina Tchen, who is an attorney, traded messages with Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx about the alleged hate crime hoax involving Smollett before the decision to not pursue charges, Fox News reported.

Not only did Tchen serve under Michelle Obama, she was also executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls. She is also a close friend of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s wife — the mayor responded to the charges being dropped by angrily called it “a whitewash of justice.”

More From Fox News on the eye-brow raising communications:

Public records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times showed that Tchen sent Foxx an early-morning text on Feb. 1 saying she “wanted to give you a call on behalf of Jussie Smollett and family who I know. They have concerns about the investigation.” Three days earlier, Smollett had said two men attacked him on the way home.

Later that day, the Sun-Times reported that a relative of Smollett sent Foxx a text, sparking a relationship that eventually led to Foxx recusing herself from the investigation and prosecution. Foxx also was shown to have emailed Tchen: “Spoke to [Chicago Police] Superintendent [Eddie] Johnson. I convinced him to reach out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation. He is reaching out now and will get to me shortly.”


The stench is so pronounced that even CNN struggled to look the other way, as seen when anchor Don Lemon interviewed d Smollett’s lawyer Patricia Brown Holmes on Tuesday night.

“Did someone potentially very important or influential do a favor, make a call on Jussie’s behalf?” Lemon asked the attorney.

“No, there was no political influence in this case. There were a team of lawyers, I was one of the members of that team, I did my job on my end of this matter, they did their jobs,” Holmes said.


“We all collectively worked on this case and researched every single detail and every single fact,” Holmes continued. “We communicated with the state’s attorneys and we convinced them that the right thing to do in this case was to dismiss the charges.”

Being a lawyer, she then couched her absolute denial, leaving herself an out should it all blow up in her face.

“No one political called that I know of,” Holmes went on to say. “I don’t think anyone political reached out to anyone. I don’t think they would have allowed anyone political to reach out to them.”

Interestingly, Lemon asked Holmes if there may be federal charges filed against her client for mail fraud, in response to reports that Smollett mailed a threatening letter to himself.

The attorney replied,  “I have no idea.”


“The one thing I know is that, as a federal prosecutor they don’t talk about cases that are ongoing, they don’t opine about information that comes to them,” Holmes added. “They act on facts once they have those facts.”

She then acknowledged that there has been communication with the U.S. Attorney, who she said was “treating Jussie as a witness.”

Despite Foxx recusing herself from the case last month, Fraternal Order of Police Second Vice President Martin Preib suggested to the New York Post that the Cook County State’s Attorney was behind the call to drop the charges against Smollett.

“Recusing herself, but not her administration, is a distinction without a difference,” Preib said. “What underling is going to go against their boss’s wishes?”

Foxx recused herself from the Smollett case on Feb. 13, but her office sat on the news for almost a week, before issuing a statement on Feb. 19 — with no explanation why.

According to The Post, FOP President Kevin Graham asked Chicago U.S. Attorney John Lausch earlier this month to investigate whether Foxx had interfered with the police case on Smollett’s hate crime claims.

The link to Michelle Obama provided plenty of fodder for social media users to chime in:



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