Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx defended her office’s decision to drop felony charges against disgraced “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett during her Saturday speech at the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.’s Rainbow Push Coalition.
She implied in her address that the criticism directed toward her decision to drop Smollett’s charges may be an issue of race.
Kim Foxx suggests racism behind criticism of her dropping all charges against @JussieSmollett:
“I’ve been asking myself for the last two weeks what is this really about. … As the first African American woman in this role, it’s disheartening to me” the goalposts have shifted. pic.twitter.com/Z5dLAVdUW7
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) April 7, 2019
“I have been asking myself for the last two weeks what is this really about,” she stated in her speech. “As someone who has lived in this city, who came up in the projects of this city to serve as the first African American woman in this role, it is disheartening to me … that when we get in these positions somehow the goalposts change.”
Prosecutors dropped 16 felony charges against Smollett on March 26 despite the findings of a Chicago police investigation that revealed the actor staged a hate crime hoax against himself. (RELATED: Smollett Case Was Inadvertently Sealed, State Attorney Says)
In her address, Foxx restated her invitation for an independent review of her handling of the Smollett case.
“What I have said continuously when I recused myself from this case was that I was not involved. Now, despite not being involved in this case, and understanding the questions that people have about it, I am again availing myself to an independent review of how we handled this case because it is owed to the public because it is the question that is asked.”
Foxx then launched into her defense for dropping Smollett’s charges, saying that she has a long history of differed prosecution for those guilty of minor crimes, insisting that she did not give the actor special treatment because of his wealth or celebrity status. (RELATED: Fraternal Order Of Police Protests Outside Kim Foxx’s Office)
“Our office over the course of the last two-and-a-half years has used diversion of differed prosecution with great frequency. When people say to me that this appears that you are doing something for someone who is of privilege I say to you look at the 5,900 other people who have not had that same privilege,” she stated.
She concluded her address, “We need to have an honest conversation about criminal justice reform and fairness and making sure that we don’t treat cases differently because of one’s celebrity.”