A report released by a judge on Monday revealed there was a “major failure” and “substantial abuses” in the investigation of Jussie Smollett by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Toomin allowed the release of the 60-page report by Special Prosecutor Dan Webb, who interviewed Foxx, her former first assistant Joseph Magats, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and prosecutor Risa Lamier.
In the report, Webb found Foxx and Magats mischaracterized to the media and public why the initial case against Smollett was resolved when they said it was “similar” to 5,700 other cases, which was not accurate.
Webb also found that Foxx’s office misrepresented information when they said the “Empire” star had no criminal background, which was false.
“The fact that the CCSAO (Cook County State Attorney’s Office) represented Mr. Smollett prior conviction related, in part, to making a false statement to police, and thus, similar to this alleged conduct (i.e., making a false police report) in the Initial Smollett case,” according to the Webb report.
Smollett had pleaded no contest in 2007 to providing false information to police during a DUI stop in Los Angeles.
While the report said there was no evidence Fox was involved in the decision-making process because she recused herself, Webb found Foxx and her team committed five instances of abuse, including that Foxx exchanged 17 text messages and had five phone calls with Smollett’s younger sister, actress Jurnee Smollett.
The report found that Lamier drafted a statement with Smollett’s legal team, but did not provide any specific reasons why the initial 16-charges were dismissed on March 26, 2019 other than the Cook County State’s Attorney Office “review(ed) the facts and circumstances of the case” …. and decided dismissal was “just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.”
Foxx told the special prosecutor that this statement was “atypical and she was confused” when she learned about this decision because she said her office did not typically consult with defense attorneys “about statements that we’re making about facts in a case.”
Prosecutors initially dismissed the 16-count indictment against the actor in March 2019 after he agreed to forfeit a $10,000 bond and complete 16 hours of community service.
Toomin tapped Webb last summer to re-investigate the case as public outcry about how the case was initially handled increased, while Smollett was indicted on new charges.
Smollett was found guilty on December 9 of five of six counts of felony disorderly conduct for filing a police report after he told investigators that Trump-loving bigots beat him up and tied a noose around his neck.
In the report, Webb also found Magats and Lanier provided conflicting reports on how the case was settled, with each pointing the finger to the other when asked who negotiated the deal with Smollett’s defense team.