Texts released to the Chicago Tribune show that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s team was wholly unprepared for the intense fallout around the Jussie Smollett case, especially at the reaction after they abruptly dropped all charges against him.
The texts also show that Foxx may have improperly inserted herself into conversations about the case, since she was recused. Her office maintains that Foxx withdrew herself only informally, as a true recusal would have involved the appointment of a special counsel.
“Sooo……I’m recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases…16 counts on a class 4 (felony) becomes exhibit A,” Foxx texted Joseph Magats, her top assistant.
“Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts. Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16 (counts),” she continued, referring to singer R. Kelly. “… Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should.”
Immediately after the charges against Smollett were dropped, the office scrambled to respond.
“Just wish I could have anticipated the magnitude of this response and planned a bit better!” texted Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier to Magats.
“There’s really no planning for this,” Magats responded. “It’s the right decision.”
It is still unclear why prosecutors abruptly dropped the charges connected to Smollett’s alleged staging of a hate crime attack, though outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel has expressed anger about the “whitewash of justice” and is now going after Smollett for overtime police costs related to the case.