Chicago Prosecutor Kim Foxx Defends Decision to Drop Jussie Smollett’s Charges

April 7, 2019 Updated: April 8, 2019

Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx said it was her choice to dismiss “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s charges and claimed he didn’t get special treatment.

According to USA Today, she suggested race was a factor in the criticism against her.

“I have been asking myself for the last two weeks what is this really about,” Foxx said at the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.’s Rainbow Push Coalition on April 6.

Jussie Smollett
Actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago on March 26, 2019.(Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

She added: “As someone who has lived in this city [Chicago], 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.”

Foxx said she’ll run for re-election after her term is over, Fox News reported.

“There were specific aspects of the evidence and testimony presented to the office that would have made securing a conviction against Smollett uncertain. In determining whether or not to pursue charges, prosecutors are required to balance the severity of the crime against the likelihood of securing a conviction. For a variety of reasons, including public statements made about the evidence in this case, my office believed the likelihood of securing a conviction was not certain,” Foxx also wrote late last month in defending the move.

Abel Osundairo, left, and his brother Ola Osundairo
Abel Osundairo (L), and his brother Ola Osundairo. The Nigerian brothers were arrested in connection with the alleged attack on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett but were released after reportedly telling detectives Smollett paid them to stage the attack. (Team Abel/Instagram)

Prosecutors dropped the charges against Smollett after he was indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for filing a fake police report about being a victim of an alleged hate-crime attack. He said he was attacked by two men who poured a chemical on him, hung a noose around his neck, and yelled, “This is MAGA country,” in reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.

An investigation led to Chicago police detectives arresting two Nigerian brothers who Smollett apparently knew. After several days in custody, the brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, confessed to detectives that the actor had paid them $3,500 to help him falsify a hate crime.

The move to drop charges drew scorn from Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Blasted by Comedians

In the past week, comedians Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan lampooned Smollett’s case, with both strongly suggesting they don’t believe him.

Chris Rock in a file photo. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

“They said ‘No Jussie Smollett jokes’ … What a waste of light skin. Do you know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair? My career would be out of here! I’d be running Hollywood,” said Rock at the NAACP Image Awards in Hollywood, California, according to CBS News.

Rock said: “What the hell was he thinking? You’re ‘Jessie’ from now on. You don’t get the ‘u’ no more. That ‘u’ was respect. You ain’t getting no respect from me!”

“Racist people don’t be jumping nobody in the polar vortex,” Morgan said on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on April 2. Smollett said he was attacked at 2 a.m. on a night in January when sub-zero temperatures hit Chicago.

He joked, “It’s too cold. They’ll be racist in the spring.”

Later, he was asked about whether he believes the actor.

“No, man! Come on … racists don’t be watching ‘Empire,’ man,” Morgan said.