In newly released text messages, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx urged her top deputy Joseph Magats to go easy on Empire star Jussie Smollett. Smollett, of course, was accused of conspiring to commit a hate crime against himself in a bid to raise his public profile; the charges were dropped. The entire case is currently under review.
Smollett consistently maintained his innocence, but many people, including the mayor of Chicago and President Donald Trump, expressed shock and outrage when the 16 counts against him were dropped.
Many pointed to Foxx, who had previously recused herself in the case, in the ensuing controversy.
"Sooo…...I'm recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases...16 counts on a class 4 (felony) becomes exhibit A," Foxx reportedly texted Magats.
She also compared Smollett to embattled R&B singer R. Kelly, who has been accused of molesting and assaulting underage girls and young women.
"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," Foxx wrote. "Just because we can charge something doesn't mean we should. … it's not who we want to be."
The texts appear to contradict Foxx’s claims that she recused herself after speaking with one of Smollett’s relatives at Tina Tchen (a chief of staff of former first lady Michelle Obama). In a March 27thinterview with Chicago’s ABC affiliate, she said she told her chief ethics officer at the time: "I don't want any speculation or concern. I don't even want the appearance that my involvement with this case, having now seen or talked to a family member, would in any way impede this investigation."
"As the case is currently under review, we are not in a position to comment on specificities related to this topic," the office said in a statement. "We look forward to the findings of the Cook County Independent Inspector General's Office's review of how we handled this case."
SMOLLETT LOSES ROLE
Meanwhile, it seems that Smollett is out of the running for a leading role in next year’s Broadway revival of Richard Greenberg’s 2003 Tony-winning play Take Me Out.