The Illinois prosecutor responsible for informally overseeing the bungled prosecution of disgraced Hollywood actor Jussie Smollett appeared to believe he deserved to have charges dropped against him because he was an irrelevant, washed-up celebrity who’d merely lied to the police.
This and other startling revelations were unveiled publicly Tuesday when the office of embattled Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx released thousands of internal text messages and emails in response to a public records request previously filed by the Chicago Tribune.
According to the Tribune, the texts show that following Smollett’s indictment in February, Foxx — who informally recused herself from the case after she allowed an Obama-affiliated political operative to interfere — complained to her top assistant, Joseph Magats, about his excessive charges.
“Sooo……I’m recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases…16 counts on a class 4 (felony) becomes exhibit A,” she wrote in one text message on March 8.
“Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts. Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16 (counts) … Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should,” she reportedly added.
The pedophile she referenced was singer R. Kelly, who’s been indicted by Foxx’s office on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse as per allegations he sexually abused four women — three of whom were reportedly minors at the time — between 1998 and 2010.
Even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat, spoke out against it.
“It makes no sense,” he said to CNN host Wolf Blitzer at the time. “It makes no legal sense. It makes no common sense. And this is an abomination of my sense of justice.”
“Where is the accountability in the system? You cannot have — because of a person’s position — one set of rules applies to them and another set of rules apply to everyone else,” he added during a press conference held immediately following Smollett’s premature acquittal.
“Our officers did hard work day in and day out, countless hours working to unwind what actually happened that night. The city saw its reputation dragged through the mud…It’s not just the officers’ work, but the work of the grand jury that made a decision based on only a sliver of the evidence [presented]. Because of the judge’s decision, none of that evidence will ever be made public.”
After the case was dropped, Foxx’s office granted a judge approval to seal Smollett’s records.
See the full presser below:
Yet oddly enough, the mayor has since expressed opposition to Foxx resigning.
“Kim Foxx should not resign because she got democratically elected to serve,” he said in a statement to reporters earlier this month. “That’s what she should do. And, as she has said herself and I have said and others, that we as a city deserve answers to the questions that remain unanswered and there will be a process to get to the bottom of that.”
While some answers were provided Tuesday, numerous questions still remain unanswered. For instance, why had Foxx remained so involved in the case, despite allegedly recusing herself from it?
In a statement posted following the release of the text messages, Foxx claimed she’d merely been in touch with Magats to ensure he was performing his job correctly …
“After the indictment became public, I reached out to Joe to discuss reviewing office policies to assure consistencies in our charging and our use of appropriate charging authority,” she said.
“I was elected to bring criminal justice reform and that includes intentionality, consistency, and discretion. I will continue to uphold these guiding principles.”
Local authorities appear to disagree.
Speaking with The Daily Caller this week, Martin Preib, the vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police’s Chicago chapter, expressed his belief that Foxx’s actions in the case were illegal.
“It was a very bizarre action by Kim Foxx,” he said. “It was arbitrary. Nothing seems right about it. We don’t think it was legal. We do think she was obligated to appoint a special prosecutor. I just think there’s so much more to this that needs to be dug into.
“This is one of many things that we’ve been very strongly opposed to her administration. And we think this is part of a pattern, so it’s not just this one issue we’re talking about,” he added.
Foxx has a habit of “deferring” charges and dropping cases. When Foxx first took office, she let a convicted killer off the hook, according to an investigation by local station WLS:
“The family of 16-year-old Derrion Albert wants to know why one of the men convicted in his murder is now free. The 16-year-old Fenger High School honors student was on the way home from school when he was caught in the middle of a gang fight and killed in 2009.”
While three of the four teens involved in Albert’s murder were sent to prison, a fourth one identified only by the initials D.J. was essentially let off the hook because of his age.
“[O]ne teen — known then as ‘D.J.’ — was 14 at the time. Prosecutors say he punched Albert and knocked him down, saying that he signed ‘his death certificate.’ Prosecutors decided to charge him as a juvenile in a special kind of case called an Extended Jurisdiction Juvenile prosecution or EJJ.”
The program required he only spend a short stint in juvenile detention. The only stipulation was that he not break the law again, lest be sent to prison to serve a full sentence for Albert’s murder. Except that Foxx decided to renege on this stipulation and let D.J. off the hook again after he was arrested as a grown adult in 2015 for a hash of new crimes.
“They call us down there and tell us that the state’s attorney decided to not pursue the motion,” Norman Golliday, Albert’s grandfather, told WLS. “One of the gentlemen said that it was determined that he had been rehabilitated. My face almost fell off my head. I could not believe that the guy actually said that.”
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