Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx called Jussie Smollett a “washed up celeb who lied to cops” in newly released text messages, although she complained the charges against the Empire actor were too harsh.
Thousands of text messages and emails about the investigation were released Tuesday night after the Chicago Tribune submitted a Freedom of Information Act request.
In the texts, Foxx — who recused herself from the case in February — complained that the 16 disorderly conduct charges brought against Smollett were excessive compared to the 10 aggravated criminal sexual abuse counts against “pedophile” R. Kelly.
“Sooo……I’m recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases…16 counts on a class 4 becomes exhibit A,” Foxx wrote in a text message to her top assistant, Joseph Magats, on March 8.
“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. Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should,” she said in an exchange two weeks before the charges against Smollett were dropped.
Texts messages from State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to staff about two weeks before charges were dropped on Jussie Smollett.
Refers to Smollett as a “washed up celeb who lied to cops.”
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) April 16, 2019
Asked by CBS Chicago why she continued to communicate with her staff about the case after recusing herself, a spokesperson for Foxx said in a statement that the state’s attorney was trying “to discuss reviewing office policies to assure consistencies in our charging and our use of appropriate charging authority.”
The case was opened after Smollett told Chicago police officers he was assaulted on Jan. 29, by two masked men as they shouted racist and homophobic slurs.
The actor, who is African-American and gay, claimed the attackers wrapped a noose around his neck, doused him with a chemical and shouted, “This is MAGA country.”
Police later said the incident was a hoax, and alleged Smollett paid brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo to stage the attack.
Smollett was subsequently arrested, and charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. He pleaded not guilty, but in a surprise move on March 26, prosecutors dropped the charges after he agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bail and performed 16 hours of community service.
The City of Chicago is now suing the actor for the cost of investigating the alleged hoax.
As Foxx said in the messages, R. Kelly was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for allegedly sexually abusing four females, including three underage girls between 1998 and 2010. Kelly has denied the allegations.