CHICAGO — WGN Investigates has learned embattled Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is losing two top deputies.
A spokesperson confirms chief ethics officer April Perry and the head of the conviction integrity unit Mark Rotert are both leaving the office.
Perry also served as Foxx’s chief deputy.
The departures come at a difficult time for Foxx who has come under fire for her office’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case. The Empire actor claimed he had been a victim of a hate crime. Police and prosecutors said it was a hoax. A grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 counts of disorderly conduct. But in a surprise move, Foxx’s office dropped those charged March 26th without requiring Smollett to admit guilt.
As WGN Investigates first reported April 16, text messages between Foxx and top aides revealed the state’s attorney continued to talk with aides about the Smollett case long after she publicly said she had recused herself.
“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,” = Alan Spellberg, supervisor of the criminal appeals division wrote.
Ethics officer Perry was copied on that email. It’s unclear whether she took action.
A statement from Foxx said:
I am profoundly grateful for Mark’s work to make the Cook County Conviction Integrity Unit a national model. Under his tenure, we have vacated the convictions of over 70 wrongfully convicted men and women. We have created national standards and protocols for reviewing past convictions. The people of Cook County have been well served by his leadership and he has well earned his retirement.
I am also grateful for April Perry’s tenure as the first ever Chief Ethics Officer for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. She has been a valuable resource to the office in ensuring that we operate with the highest levels of integrity and professionalism. I wish her well in her new endeavors.