April 19, 2019

Prosecutors’ texts show Foxx involved in Smollett case after recusal

17 April 2019, 05:56 | Regina Holmes

Enlarge Image Kim Foxx and Jussie Smollett Getty Images

Kim Foxx and Jussie Smollett

Foxx has said she recused herself from the prosecution on February 19, but she was clearly discussing the case with aide Joseph Magats on March 8 when she said, "Sooo, I'm recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases ..."

"Sooo.... I'm recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases.16 counts on a class 4 (felony) becomes exhibit A", Foxx wrote to Magats.

But she weighed in on March 8, sending a text to her first assistant that said: "Pedophile with 4 victims, 10 counts".

Foxx, who had recused herself from the case, believed the charges against Smollett were over the top.

There was no smoking gun but the documents showed Foxx was kept in the loop on - and commented to her staff about - a case in which she publicly claimed to have recused herself.

Magats replied that he could "see where that can be seen as excessive". "With him taking over we can take a hard look at how we charge the cases and get it to something that covers what needs to be covered without being excessive and ultimately pointless", Magats said.

Smollett walked free for the price of his bail bond with all charges being dropped due to his community service hours.

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

Other texts showed prosecutor were blindsided by the response they got following their decision to drop the charges.

Foxx texted back and apparently compared the Smollett case to the sex abuse charges against singer R. Kelly.

"Eddie just called. (He) needed to know how to answer questions from press", Foxx texted Magats, referring to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

When asked why the state's attorney continued to communicate about the case after her withdrawal, a spokeswoman issued a statement Tuesday night on Foxx's behalf saying she reached out to Magats only "to discuss reviewing office policies to assure consistencies in our charging and our use of appropriate charging authority".

Smollett was initially charged with 16 counts alleging he lied to police when reporting he'd been the victim of a racist, homophobic attack in January.

Police said, in reality, Smollett had paid Ola and Abel Osundairo to stage the attack. In an op-ed in the Tribune, she backed off her office's initial stance that the case was strong, writing that they were uncertain of a conviction, but she offered no specifics.

While the prosecutors have the power to drop charges for any reason, Smollett's deal did not, in fact, conform to state laws on deferred prosecution, and Smollett appeared to have spent two days volunteering with Rainbow PUSH.

At her request, Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard agreed last week to investigate the office's handling of the Smollett case.

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