Special prosecutor Dan Webb ruled there were “substantial abuses of discretion” by Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx’s office in the handling of the Jussie Smollett case.
Webb released a 12-page press release on Monday detailing his ruling that Foxx and her office made several “false and/or misleading public statements” as they handled the case against the 38-year-old actor, according to the Chicago Sun Times. Smollett was charged in 2019 with 16 felony counts of false report of offense before charges were dismissed. (RELATED: Judge Appoints Special Prosecutor In Jussie Smollett Case To Investigate Dropped Charges)
BREAKING NEWS: Special Prosecutor Dan Webb announced he concluded his investigation into the handling of last year’s Jussie Smollett hate-crime prosecution and found Kim Foxx and her office put out several false and misleading statements about the case. https://t.co/LyLUtZWS2f
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) August 17, 2020
In Webb’s report he reached “five major final conclusions” relating to the investigation into Foxx and her office. One of these was that Foxx’s “recusal” in the case was defective because she couldn’t simply appoint an “acting state’s attorney” and needed to go to a judge to appoint a special prosecutor. (RELATED: Jussie Smollett’s Legal Team Responds To New Indictment)
He also wrote that the state attorney and her staff “made the decision to ignore this major legal defect seemingly because they did not want to admit that they had made such a major mistake of judgment regarding State’s Attorney Foxx’s recusal.”
He said the office went on to “compound the problem” by making false statements to the media about whether Foxx knew about the issue. (RELATED: Police Chief ‘Furious’ At Smollett Case Dismissal)
Webb also wrote that he found evidence establishing “substantial abuses of discretion” in prosecuting and later dismissing charges against Smollett.
According to a report by Fox News:
The state’s attorney’s office’s “decision-makers” who worked the initial Smollett case “did not learn of any new evidence between when the [Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office] filed a 16-count indictment against Mr. Smollett on March 7, 2019, when the CCSAO believed it had a strong case against Mr. Smollett, and March 26, 2019, when the entire indictment was dismissed,” the prosecutors’ office found.
Despite Webb‘s findings, he said he found no evidence that Foxx and her team’s actions would support criminal charges. He also wrote that he found no evidence of “improper influence by any outside third parties” in the decision by Foxx’s office to drop original charges against Smollett.
Foxx’s office commented on the release in a statement that said this ruling “puts to rest any implications of outside influence or criminal activity on the part of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.”
It went on state that “any implication that statements made by the (Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office) were deliberately inaccurate is untrue.”
As previously reported, Smollett was initially charged with a class 4 felony for allegedly lying to police about the attack in January of 2019. In February of 2019, charges against the actor were dropped by the state attorney’s office in exchange for community service and forfeiture of his $10,000 bond payment.
In February of this year, Webb reportedly filed a six-count indictment against Smollett for allegedly faking a hate crime against himself. He has pleaded not guilty.