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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Prosecutors lied to the public in the Smollett case, special prosecutor finds

Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx and prosecutors in her office lied and misled the public about the case against Jussie Smollett, according to a special prosecutor’s case released Monday.

Foxx, a Democrat whose campaign was backed by billionaire George Soros, initially said there was a “strong case” against Smollett, who perpetrated a hate crime against himself that would have fetched him punishment. But Foxx claimed days later that certain aspects of the case “may have made the sentence against Smollett uncertain.”

Dan Webb, a special prosecutor appointed to investigate the actions of Foxx and his associates, said the pivot was “false and misleading.”

The Webb report said the office also produced a series of other false and misleading statements.

Foxx recused himself from the case in 2019 because he was rumored to have had or had ties to Smollett or his family. But, according to legal regulations, Foxx had to step down from his entire office and ask the court to appoint a special prosecutor. Instead Foxx decided to have a prosecutor appointed from within his office to oversee the case.

The Office and Foxx “decided to ignore this major legal flaw because they didn’t want to admit that they made such a huge mistake of judgment,” Webb wrote, adding that “they then escalated the problem by making false statements.” Diya” media “about the matter.

Foxx and/or prosecutors in her office also falsely stated that Smollett had no criminal background when they dismissed the initial case against her, falsely representing that $10,000 is the most Smollett could be ordered to pay in restitution. and were misleading when they claimed the dismissal was not unusual as they could not identify any similar cases as reported.

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Webb concluded that Foxx’s office indulged in a substantial abuse of discretion and obligations to violate integrity and transparency.

Foxx’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Webb said it has uncovered evidence that could meet the level of breach of legal ethics by Foxx and the lawyers working under it. He does not have the power to draw an ethical conclusion, but he will refer the case to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. The investigation did not reveal evidence supporting criminal charges against any of the prosecutors.

The report was released on the orders of Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Tumin.

Toumin had dismissed previous attempts to make the full report public — a summary was released last year — but Smollett was convicted earlier this month of staging a hate crime against himself and lying to police. After agreeing to order his release.

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Zachary Stieber covers US news and stories related to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.

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