In texts messages released on Tuesday by her office in response to a public-records request by the Chicago Tribune, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx described “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett as a “washed up celeb who lied to cops.”
Foxx compared Jussie Smollett’s case to her office’s pending indictments against R&B singer R. Kelly in text messages to Joseph Magats, her top assistant, on March 8, the paper reported
“Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts. Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16 (counts),” she wrote. “… Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should.”
Smollett was indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct on staging a Jan. 29 hate crime attack on himself. He claimed two men beat and shouted slurs at him, wrapped a noose around his neck and yelled this is MAGA country.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and her top assistant Joseph Magats continued to communicate via text message about aspects of the Smollett investigation. On March 3, Magats reported that he gave Foxx’s phone number to Michael Avenatti, who had reached out about the case, according to text messages.
“…….. so Michael Avenatti reached out. Apparently, he’s coming in to represent the Nigerian brothers in Smollet. I gave him your office number,” Magats wrote.
Foxx issued a statement on Feb. 19 recusing herself from high-profile case. Prosecutors, last month, argued that Foxx never formally recused herself amid questions over her office’s decision to drop the charges against Smollett.
The communication between Foxx and Magats raised questions of whether she continued to take a role in the case after stepping away. In a statement Tuesday night, Foxx defended her messages to Magats.
“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,” Foxx said in a statement obtained by USA Today. “I was elected to bring criminal justice reform and that includes intentionality, consistency, and discretion. I will continue to uphold these guiding principles.”
The text messages also appeared to show that prosecutors had notified the Chicago police moments before the charges were dropped against Smollett.
“Eddie just called. (He) needed to know how to answer questions from press,” Foxx texted Magats, referring to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. She said Johnson seemed “satisfied” with her explanation that Smollett had completed community service and turned over his $10,000 bond money to the city.
John and Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a news conference that morning blasting the prosecutor’s decision, calling it a “whitewash of justice.”
The city of Chicago has sued Jussie Smollett for the $130,000 in police overtime spent investigating the fake hate crime.
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