Cook County prosecutor Kim Foxx doubled down on her defense of her office’s decision to dismiss charges against Jussie Smollett, claiming in remarks at an event hosted by Rev. Jesse Jackson that the actor did not receive special treatment.
Foxx also questioned whether her race played a role in the criticism she’s received about the handling of the case.
“I have been asking myself for the last two weeks what is this really about,” she said at the event Saturday. “As someone who has lived in this city, who came up in the projects of this city to serve as the first African American woman in this role, it is disheartening to me … that when we get in these positions somehow the goalposts change.”
She again said she welcomes an independent investigation into the decision to dismiss the charges and said her office had done the same thing to 6,000 low-level defendants through “deferred prosecutions.”
Chicago’s police union on Friday demanded Foxx’s resignation by holding a “no confidence” vote against her because of the handling of the case.
Foxx has previously defended her office’s decision, arguing “aspects of the evidence and testimony … would have made securing a conviction against Smollett uncertain.” She added that she’d rather save prosecutors’ resources for “the most serious crimes.”
Foxx recused herself from the Smollett case after it was revealed she was communicating with one of the actor’s relatives during the probe.
Smollett was originally hit with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly orchestrating a hate-crime hoax on a Chicago street in late January.
Smollett, who is black and gay, claimed in January that he was jumped by two men who yelled racist and homophobic slurs, as well as “This is MAGA country!” at him during the attack.
The “Empire” star, 36, claimed his assailants doused him with bleach, threw a noose around his neck and beat him.
During their investigation, Chicago police determined Smollett set up the attack and paid two brothers — who both acted in small roles on “Empire” — to carry out the supposed beating.