Earlier this morning, RedState writer Elizabeth Vaughn posted on newly obtained texts showing that Kim Foxx described Jussie Smollett as a “washed up celeb who lied to cops.” That’s obviously pretty striking, as it shows an understanding just two weeks before dropping the charges that the case against Smollett was strong.
This message was included in a group of thousands of internal emails and texts released to the newspaper on Tuesday. On March 8, in a text message to her top assistant and fellow prosecutor Joseph Magats, she compared the case against singer R. Kelly to Smollett’s case. She believed the charges against Smollett were too harsh. She wrote:
“Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts. Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16 (counts). 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.”
There’s another aspect to this though that shows just how dishonest Foxx was about the situation.
You’ll recall that Foxx originally claimed she was recused from the case on Feb. 19th. After the charges against Smollett were dropped at the behest of Foxx, her office then claimed she was never really recused. It was just a “colloquialism,” per a statement put out.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx did not “formally” recuse herself from the Jussie Smollett case — she only did so “colloquially,” prosecutors said on Wednesday…
…Top aide Robert Foley released a separate statement, saying Foxx “had conversations with a family member of Jussie Smollett about the incident and their concerns and facilitated a connection to the Chicago Police Department, who were investigating the incident.”
But Ellis clarified that Foxx’s recusal “was a colloquial use of the term rather than in its legal sense.”
That never really passed muster. How do you recuse yourself but not really recuse yourself? It made no sense on it’s face.
Now we have an answer. In the text message chain obtained via a FOIA request of Foxx’s office, it’s clear that Foxx herself thought she was recused at the time.
But in March 8 text messages released Tuesday as part of a FOIA request from The Post and other outlets, Foxx tells First Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Joe Magats, who took over the case for her, that “I’m recused” — then went on to complain that the “Empire” star had been charged with too many crimes.
“Sooo …… I’m recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases … 16 counts on a class 4 becomes exhibit A,” Foxx wrote at the start of the exchange.
“Yes. I can see where that can be seen as excessive,” Magats replied.
What you are seeing here is incredibly improper and perhaps illegal given that the law requires the appointment of a special prosecutor after a recusal. Clearly, Foxx felt she was officially recused on March 8th, as even in private conversations with colleagues, she’s describing herself that way. It wasn’t until the media firestorm hit, after Smollett’s charges were dropped, that Foxx’s office changed their story and asserted she wasn’t really recused. That seems to have come in response to growing questions about the legality of her non-recusal, recusal.
Furthermore, you can see in more of the texts just how hard Foxx was leaning on prosecutors to do her bidding despite being “recused” at the time.
“Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should.”
“Agreed,” Magats answered. “I’ll get with Risa and Jim. With him taking over we can take a hard look at how we charge the cases and get it to something that covers what needs to be covered without being excessive and ultimately pointless.”
He was likely referring to Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier, though it was not immediately clear who Jim is.
“Yeah…it’s not who we want to be,” Foxx responded.
To which Magats replied: “For sure.”
Magats is certainly not innocent in this either, as he appeared eager to follow Foxx’s lead even though Foxx herself was telling him she was recused from the case. There appeared to be no actual standards within the State Attorney’s office.
Instead of being concerned with justice, Foxx was one tracked on making sure Smollett was let off easy because to have him pay for his crimes is “not who we want to be.” In fact, it appears Foxx dealt with a bit of pressure of her own in regards to Smollett, as several groups sent letters of support for Smollett just days before the charges were dropped. One of those was of course Jesse Jackson’s “Rainbow Push Coalition,” which Foxx has deep ties to.
The trove of documents released also shows that, two days before charges were dropped, prosecutors received letters of support for Smollett from the Black AIDS Institute, Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition and The City Lights Orchestra, citing his activism and community service.
The level of corruption being shown here throughout the timeline of events is pretty incredible. She lied about her recusal multiple times, in multiple ways, all while pressuring prosecutors to let Smollett off the hook weeks before the charges were even dropped. Then, when the pressure ratcheted up over her handling of the situation, she ran right to Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition for protection. What does that tell you about how intertwined those partisan, special interest groups were in the decision? It’s a stunning example of the ongoing corruption which exists throughout Chicago’s government.
We still haven’t heard anything from the FBI investigation of her office, nor on whether Smollett will face federal charges. Meanwhile, the city of Chicago is currently suing Smollett for $130k in investigative costs they adsorbed looking into his hate crime hoax. At this point, a win in civil court is probably as much justice as we’ll see in this case. That says nothing good about Foxx, Chicago, or their governance.