State Attorney Kim Foxx told her top assistant that actor Jussie Smollett was a “washed-up celeb who lied to cops” in a series of text messages that raise questions about Foxx’s proximity to his case.
Foxx has said she recused herself from the prosecution on Feb. 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 … 16 counts on a class 4 [felony] becomes exhibit A,” in messages obtained by The Chicago Tribune published Tuesday.
Foxx suggested Smollett’s case wasn’t as serious as that of vocalist R. Kelly, another investigation on her docket: “Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts. Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16 [counts],” she wrote. “… Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should.” (RELATED: Harris Says She’s ‘Completely Confused’ Over Smollett Charges)
Smollett was charged after Chicago police alleged the “Empire” actor had fabricated a hate crime against himself. He claimed to have been attacked by two men, both of whom he hired to beat him and shout racial and homosexual slurs. He also claims his attackers left a hangman’s noose on his neck.
Smollett walked free for the price of his bail bond with all charges being dropped due to his community service hours. That decision, apparently taken without even consulting police investigators, angered many in Chicago, including the former mayor.
Foxx and Magats continued to discuss the case, including the news that embattled lawyer Michael Avenatti wanted to join the defense.
“… Michael Avenatti reached out. Apparently he’s coming in to represent the Nigerian brothers in Smollet. I gave him your office number,” Magats wrote. (RELATED: Outraged Fraternal Order Of Police Demands Investigation Into Smollett Case)
Foxx has tried to justify her communication with Magats, saying in a statement released by USA Today, “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. I was elected to bring criminal justice reform and that includes intentionality, consistency, and discretion. I will continue to uphold these guiding principles.”