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Prosecutor Kim Foxx Subpoenaed Over Jussie Smollett Case
A retired judge wants Foxx to defend her handling of the case against the "Empire" star.
Chicago prosecutor Kim Foxx has been subpoenaed to appear at a hearing related to her office's decisions regarding the Jussie Smollett case, local outlets report.
Retired judge Sheila O’Brien filed a subpoena for Foxx, as well as her deputy Joseph Magats, alongside a petition for a special prosecutor to look into how Foxx handled the Jussie Smollett case, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Smollett, who is black and gay, famously claimed to have been the victim of a hate crime, telling police that two masked men attacked him on Jan. 29 and yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him before leaving a noose around his neck. Sympathy soon turned to suspicion, however, after police began to publicly cast doubt on Smollett’s claims before finally accusing him of orchestrating the alleged attack to raise his own profile.
The 36-year-old “Empire” actor was charged with 10 counts related to filing a false police report. He pleaded not guilty, and the charges were dropped without warning last month, leading to massive criticism of Foxx’s office.
O’Brien, a former appellate judge, is calling for Smollett to appear in court as well, and wants the actor, along with Foxx and Magats, to provide to the court all documents related to the case in order to demonstrate “that they have not been altered or destroyed and will not be destroyed throughout this case,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports, citing court documents.
O’Brien said in her filing that Foxx’s “conflict in this matter is beyond dispute” and that her actions in the case were “plagued with irregularity.” Foxx should have sought a special prosecutor for the case, she said, according to the outlet.
“Instead, Foxx misled the public into believing that Smollett’s case was handled like any other prosecution and without influence,” O’Brien wrote.
In response, Foxx’s office filed motions on Tuesday morning objecting to O’Brien’s request for a special prosecutor, the Chicago-Sun Times reports. Foxx’s side is also endeavoring to shut down the subpoenas and prevent O’Brien from requesting any more. They are also asking the court to allow their office, along with the county inspector general, to access the previously sealed records in the case, according to the publication.
The charges were dropped against Smollett last month in exchange for the actor forfeiting his $10,000 bond and completing community service. Prosecutors have defended the decision (though a number of Foxx’s deputies have since resigned), while also challenging assertions by Smollett’s legal team that the result of the case proves Smollett’s alleged innocence.
“We did not exonerate Mr. Smollett,” Foxx’s spokesperson Tandra Simonton said in a statement obtained by NBC News last month. “The charges were dropped in return for Mr. Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago. Without the completion of these terms, the charges would not have been dropped. This outcome was met under the same criteria that would occur for and is available to any defendant with similar circumstances.”
The city of Chicago sued Smollett for the cost of the investigation last month, the culmination of widespread criticism from local officials, including Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. The FBI is also reportedly investigating whether Smollett sent himself a threatening letter he received in the mail prior to the alleged attack.
Despite persistent backlash, Smollett has continued to stand by his claims of being innocent, telling reporters shortly after the charges were dropped, “I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”