log in to manage your profile and account
- Create your account
- Receive up-to-date newsletters
- Set up text alerts
Published: Thursday, March 28, 2019 @ 1:31 PM
— The Department of Justice will investigate the decision by Chicago prosecutors to drop 16 felony counts against actor Jussie Smollett, who claimed falsely, police say, that he was the victim of a hate crime there.
President Donald Trump said dropping the charges that Smollett orchestrated a fake hate crime in Chicago in January was an “embarrassment to our Nation.”
FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2019
On Tuesday, the Cook County State's Attorney Office announced that it had dropped the charges of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report against the “Empire” actor and sealed the information surrounding his case, meaning he would not go to trial. The state’s attorney office did not offer an explanation as to why he was being cleared of the charges.
Smollett’s attorney said her client was not offered a deal by prosecutors in exchange for having the felony charges dropped. The state’s attorney office noted Smollett’s “volunteer service in the community” and the fact he agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond payment. Prosecutors also pointed out that Smollett had no criminal record.
Smollett’s attorney said her client was not offered a deal by prosecutors in exchange for having the felony charges dropped. The state’s attorney’s office noted Smollett’s “volunteer service in the community,” and the fact he agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond payment. Prosecutors also pointed out that Smollett had no criminal record.
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx on Wednesday defended her office's decision to drop the charges against Smollett.
"I believe this is a just outcome based on the circumstances," Foxx said. She noted that it is not unusual to drop charges in exchange for restitution and some sort of community service. Foxx also said she believed the evidence against Smollett was enough to charge and prosecute the actor.
"Based on the facts and the evidence that was presented in the charging decision that was made by this office, this office believed that they could prove him guilty."
Foxx recused herself from the Smollett case a week before the actor was charged with filing a false police report. She said she left the case after she was connected to a relative of Smollett’s through Tina Tchen, former first lady Michelle Obama’s one-time chief of staff.
Tchen issued this statement on Wednesday, “My sole activity was to put the chief prosecutor in the case in touch with an alleged victim’s family who had concerns about how the investigation was being characterized in public,” the statement read.
Foxx explained that "The family had reached out, I think to me, largely because they didn't have a connection to the police department, asking if there was a way to make sure that the leaks in the case were to a minimum. I don't want any speculation or concern, I don't even want the appearance, that my involvement with this case, now having talked to a family member, would in any way impede this investigation,” Foxx said.
The Smollett case is not the first one that has pushed Foxx onto the national stage. Recently, she brought sexual assault charges against rapper R. Kelly.
Here’s a look at Chicago’s top prosecutor: