Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on Wednesday defended her office’s decision to drop all charges against “Empire” star Jussie Smollett but said prosecutors had enough evidence to convict the actor of faking a hate-crime attack on himself.
Foxx began a string of interviews with local media, as Smollett’s lawyers took to the airwaves to declare Smollett’s innocence following an unusual, hastily called hearing Tuesday at which prosecutors dropped 16 felony counts tied to the alleged hoax attack.
Foxx said that the deal, which essentially wipes Smollett’s record clear, was not a sign that the prosecution case was weak or that Smollett was innocent, and said similar low-level felony defendants are cut the same breaks.
“The notion that this somehow exonerates him or that the prosecutors somehow believed he was innocent is very frustrating to [my] idea of alternative prosecution,” a hoarse-voiced Foxx said late Wednesday in an interview with The Chicago Sun-Times. “But I understand that [Smollett’s lawyers] have a client, and they have a spin.”
Foxx, who recused herself from the case just over a week before Smollett was charged because of conversations she’d had with a relative of the actor, pointed to the $10,000 bond that Smollett turned over to the city of Chicago, a sum equivalent to the maximum fine for the disorderly conduct charges he faced. The prosecutor, who took office in 2016 after campaigning on a reform platform, said she believed the evidence against Smollett would have convinced a judge or jury to find him guilty. READ MORE