Judge to appoint special prosecutor to investigate handling of Jussie Smollett case

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CHICAGO — A Cook County judge ruled Friday that a special prosecutor would be appointed to investigate the Jussie Smollett case.

Specifically, the special prosecutor would examine State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office and its controversial decision to drop all charges against Smollett.

Judge Michael Toomin ruled that Foxx had no legal grounds to appoint her top deputy to handle the case in her place. He also said the special prosecutor could bring charges against Smollett if they have "reasonable grounds to believe that any other criminal offense was committed."

Smollett was accused of disorderly conduct, and staging a phony hate crime, to raise his profile — and salary — on the television series "Empire."

Chicago police have said that they have overwhelming evidence against Smollett. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted the following statement:

"We stand firmly behind the work of detectives in investigating the fabricated incident reported by Jussie Smollett will fully cooperate with the court appointed special prosecutor."

Foxx released a statement that said, in part:

"I respectfully disagree with the court's conclusion that, in the absence of any conflict, the appointment of a special prosecutor is required. As always, I remain committed to transparency, justice, and the public safety."

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