Published: Wed, April 17, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Foxx thought 16 counts against Jussie Smollett was ‘overcharging’

Foxx thought 16 counts against Jussie Smollett was ‘overcharging’

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx referred to "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett as a "washed up celeb who lied to cops", according to newly revealed text messages.

The almost 4,000 page document was in response to the media's Freedom of Information Act requests.

Smollett found himself at the center of an global media firestorm after he reported being the victim of a January 29 attack by two people who shouted slurs, hit him and wrapped a noose around his neck.

Smollett has insisted that he told the truth about the attack.

The messages, released Tuesday, show that after Foxx announced her recusal from the case on February 19 because she said she had been in contact with a relative of Smollett, Foxx continued to internally discuss the case with her top aides, according to WBBM-TV.

"Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts".

Smollett, who is African-American and openly gay, had been indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct on charges he staged a hate crime attack on himself. Smollett maintains his innocence.

In other messages reported by De Mar, Foxx urged charging cases "without being excessive". The texts indicate her recusal did not stop her from being involved in the case.

"Just wish I could have anticipated the magnitude of this response and planned a bit better", Risa Lanier, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney, wrote in one message.

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Foxx and Magats continued to communicate via text message about aspects of the investigation.

On March 8, Foxx seemed to suggest the misdemeanor charges against Smollett were too severe.

"So... I'm recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases...16 counts on a class 4 becomes exhibit A", Foxx texted. Apparently he's coming in to represent the Nigerian brothers in Smollet.

"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.

The trove of documents released also shows that, two days before charges were dropped, prosecutors received letters of support for Smollett from the Black AIDS Institute, Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition and The City Lights Orchestra, citing his activism and community service.

The decision to drop the charges triggered harsh criticism from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. "I will continue to uphold these guiding principles", she added.

Despite claiming to have recused herself from the case, a Cook County spokesperson admitted last month that Foxx only did so in a "colloquial", but not in a "legal sense".

Joseph Magats, the First Assistant in the State's Attorney's office, ultimately made the decision not to prosecute the case.

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