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Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx repeatedly told the public that she cut off communications with Jussie Smollett’s sister when she was told that the actor became a suspect, but she continued communicating with her several days after, according to the special prosecutor’s report.
The report, released Monday by special prosecutor Daniel Webb, cites multiple examples from March 2019 and at the end of May 2019 in which Foxx told the media that she stopped communicating with Smollett’s sister. However, the report says she sent five text messages to her and talked with her on the phone another three times through Feb. 13, 2019, five days after she claimed she cut off communication.
Actor Jussie Smollett, center, leaves the Leighton Criminal Courthouse with unidentified siblings, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Chicago, following a verdict in his trial. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
During the phone call on Feb. 13, Foxx and Smollett discussed the skin color of the alleged attackers with Smollett’s sister asking, “They’re White, right?” Foxx informed her that they were not White. During the late evening of Feb. 13, Smollett said her conversation with Foxx was “quite different” and that Foxx said she couldn’t communicate with her anymore and that she was recusing herself from the case.
Webb said he is going to refer Kim Foxx and her attorneys to the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) for ethics violations.
The report does say that the investigation “did not develop evidence that would support any criminal charges against State’s Attorney Foxx or any individual working at the CCSAO.”
However, Webb said in his report that “the OSP did develop evidence that establishes substantial abuse of discretion and operational failures by the CCASO in prosecuting and resolving the Initial Smollett Case.”
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)
Webb continued by saying it included a breach of its “obligations of honesty and transparency by making false and/or misleading statements to the public regarding the nature and reasons for the dismissal” of the initial case and said it was a “major failure of the operations.”
Monday evening, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office released the following statement:
“The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (CCSAO) remains committed to honesty and transparency. Our response remains the same as it was when the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) issued its August 2020 press release. Though State’s Attorney Kim Foxx was not involved with the initial disposition of the Smollett case, she and the CCSAO remain steadfast that the office acted within its broad prosecutorial discretion.
“We respectfully disagree with the OSP’s findings of abuse of prosecutorial discretion. A prosecutor’s discretion is as broad as any in the law, and differences of opinion as to how a case was handled do not signify an abuse of discretion. Finally, it is important to emphasize that the OSP did not find any criminal activity or undue influence on the part of the State’s Attorney or the CCSAO.”
Actor Jussie Smollett arrives with his mother Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for jury selection at his trial in Chicago. Smollett is accused of lying to police when he reported he was the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago nearly three years ago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Smollett’s sister told investigators that Foxx told her, “Your brother should be fine as long as he stays consistent,” the report says. Foxx denied saying that.
Retired Judge Sheila O’Brien, who successfully filed the motion as a private citizen to have a special prosecutor assigned to the case, slammed Foxx, calling her a “liar.”
“Kim Foxx should resign. This report shows she is a liar, that her administration is in chaos and that she’s blaming everyone else,” O’Brien said. “She should resign. Taxpayers deserve better and Ms. Preckwinkle, her mentor, should take no part in replacing Foxx.”
“Cook County Government needs to clean house,” she added.
Earlier this month, Smollett was found guilty of five out of six charges, including telling a police officer he was a hate crime victim, telling an officer he was a battery victim, and telling a detective he was a hate crime victim.