Chicago’s top prosecutor, who initially let Jussie Smollett bring 16 felony charges for lying to police, called the disgraced actor’s prosecution a failure of the justice system and said he was a victim of ” mob justice”.
Kim Foxx made the remarks in a Chicago Sun-Times Thursday night column published shortly after Smollett, 39, was sentenced to five months in prison for staging a hate crime against himself in an attempt to to increase its public notoriety.
“Just because we don’t like the outcome doesn’t mean we’re intimidating prosecutors and circumventing the court process to change it. Smollett was charged, tried, and convicted in a kangaroo prosecution within months,” Foxx wrote. in the article.
“Meanwhile, the families of more than 50 black women murdered in Chicago over the past 20 years await justice.”
Shortly after a grand jury returned a 16-count indictment against Smollett in 2019, Foxx made the decision to quietly drop all charges against him after agreeing to drop bail $10,000 and perform a few hours of community service.
The state’s attorney was widely criticized for that decision and a series of other ethical errors she made while handling the case.
Foxx continued to speak with Smollett’s sister after she was the target of a criminal investigation and deliberately misled the public in her “familiar recusal” where she continued to be actively involved in the case and did not never requested the appointment of a special prosecutor, as required by law.
The missteps eventually prompted Judge Michael Toomin to appoint special prosecutor Dan Webb to re-examine the case, ruling that Foxx’s handling of the case was plagued with “unprecedented irregularities” and that a second look was needed. necessary to restore confidence in the criminal justice system.
In the column, Foxx defended his “prosecuting discretion” in his decision to drop the charges against Smollett and criticized Webb’s appointment as “mob justice.”
“Given the reputational price paid by Smollett, the $10,000 bond we were holding, and the fact that he had never been charged with a violent crime, my office made the decision not to prosecute any criminal conviction. This story should have ended there, as thousands and thousands of unprosecuted cases do every day,” Foxx wrote.
“Instead, taxpayers have since spent millions of dollars on the criminal prosecution of a hoax. Last year alone, there were over 800 murders in Chicago. My administration has overturned over 177 wrongful convictions, including 87 in the past 3 years. Rather than working collaboratively to stem growing crime or free those wrongfully convicted, a small group of people have hijacked the justice system to embrace what is best described as mob justice.
Shortly after Foxx dropped Smollett’s charges, his office said similar deferred prosecution deals were offered to a large number of defendants facing similar beatings, but when pressed, they didn’t. have never been able to produce a similar example.
Asked about Foxx’s comments late Thursday night, Webb said he was not responding to Foxx and had previously repeatedly said his company took the matter “pro bono.”
“When [Toomin] heard the evidence and that in fact the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dismissed the entire indictment with no penalty, no jail time, no restitution, no criminal fine, no probation, no postponement [prosecution]Smollett was cleared and gave the city of Chicago the middle finger,” Webb said.
“Judge Toomin has ruled that the handling of this case was so improper that a special prosecutor should be appointed, so I am following Judge Toomin’s instructions, not Kim Foxx’s instructions.”