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Top Foxx official said recusal wasn’t right

WGN Investigates has more on Tuesday night’s massive document dump from the Cook County State’s Attorney office relating to the handling of the Jussie Smollett case.

Text messages released show Kim Foxx continued to chime in on the Smollett case long after she claimed to have recused herself.

Additionally, a top official in her own office suggested the recusal was not right.

Smollett may have escaped from his hate crime claims legally unscathed but the county’s top prosecutor continues to feel the heat.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday Foxx should not step down for her handling of the case despite earlier calling it a “whitewash.”

“She got elected and she should serve out her term.  We now have an inspector general who will give us all the answers to all the questions we have,” he said.  “But what I can say is this was not on the level and this does not add up.”

The state’s attorney’s office released nearly 4,000 pages of emails and text messages in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.

They show despite Foxx saying she recused herself from the case on February 19 she repeatedly told her top prosecutors the charges against Smollett were too harsh.

On March 8, she texted, “So… I’m recused, but when people accuse of overcharging cases… 16 counts on a class 4 becomes exhibit A.”

And two weeks before her office dropped the case “without” getting Smollett to admit guilt, Foxx referenced her office’s case against R. Kelly writing:

  Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts.  Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16.  On a case eligible for deferred prosecution I think it’s indicative of something we should be looking at generally.  Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should.

Documents also revealed evidence Foxx’s own advisors didn’t think her recusal was right.

The head of the criminal appeals division offered a lengthy legal opinion February 20 that concluded:

 While the State’s Attorney has complete discretion to recuse herself from any matter, she cannot simply direct someone (even the First Assistant) to act in her stead.

That opinion was offered the day after Foxx said she had recused herself from the case.

A statement from the Cook County State's Attorney's Office released Wednesday said:

"The State's Attorney was not included in Alan Spellberg's email and was not aware of its existence or content.  We look forward to the findings of the Cook County Independent Inspector General's Office that will examine our internal practices and handling of this case."

 

 

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