Illinois State’s Attorney Kim Foxx lied about the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of charges against actor Jussie Smollett. That is the charge being made by Foxx’s own colleagues, adding to a growing scandal that now involves former First Lady Michelle Obama.
On Thursday, the Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association (IPBA) issued a rare rebuke to one of their own, saying that Foxx “and her representatives have fundamentally misled the public on the law and circumstances surrounding the dismissal.” The IPBA represents over 1,000 prosecutors across the state, the largest such organization in the state.
“The Cook County State’s Attorney’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case is not condoned by the IPBA, nor is it representative of the honest ethical work prosecutors provide to the citizens of the State of Illinois on a daily basis,” the statement by the IPBA read.
Perhaps most damning is the IPBA’s charge that Foxx never recused herself from the case as she claimed to the press. The IPBA said she did not follow state law and appoint a special prosecutor, making a recusal official. “When an elected State’s Attorney recuses herself from a prosecution, Illinois law provides that the court shall appoint a special prosecutor,” the statement read. “Here, the State’s Attorney kept the case within her office and thus never actually recused herself as a matter of law.”
Decision to drop the charges against Smollett was widely criticized, even by Democrats in Chicago, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Bipartisan calls for Foxx to resign have only increased in the days following the dismissal of charges.
The scandal has even implicated former First Lady Michelle Obama. Tina Tchen, the former chief of staff to Michelle Obama, reached out to Kim Foxx on the family’s behalf, voicing concerns over the state of the police investigation in the weeks following the crime.
While those involved claim Michelle Obama herself had no direct involvement, given the Obamas’ influence in their native Chicago, many speculate Foxx’s actions may have been the result of some highly-placed influence.
Meanwhile, the dismissal of charges in Illinois does not mean Smollett is out of the woods. The FBI is still investigating possible federal mail fraud charges against Smollett, who mailed a fake threat to himself last year, in a bid to get publicity.
Neither Michelle Obama, nor her representatives, have commented on the matter.
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