Ouch. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx described Empire actor Jussie Smollett as a “washed up celeb who lied to cops” in texts messages released Tuesday by her office in response to a public-records request by the Chicago Tribune.
Foxx compared Smollett’s case to her office’s pending indictments against R&B singer R. Kelly in text messages to Joseph Magats, her top assistant, on March 8, the paper reported
“Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts. Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16 (counts),” she wrote. “… Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should.”
“On a case eligible for deferred prosecution I think it’s indicative of something we should be looking at generally,” Foxx continued.
Jussie Smollett, who is black and gay, maintains he told the truth in alleging that two masked men attacked him, yelling racist and anti-gay insults slurs. The actor also claimed that the assailants wrapped a rope around his neck and screamed, “This is MAGA country,” before fleeing.
The eyebrow-raising messages were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by CBS Chicago.
The texts also show Foxx’s office struggled to manage a tsunami of media requests after the charges were dropped against Smollett.
“Just wish I could have anticipated the magnitude of this response and planned a bit better,” Risa Lanier, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney, wrote in one message.
In a statement Tuesday, Foxx said she contacted First Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Joseph Magats following Smollett’s indicted to “discuss reviewing office policies to assure consistencies in our charging and our use of appropriate charging authority.”
“I was elected to bring criminal justice reform and that includes intentionality, consistency, and discretion. I will continue to uphold these guiding principles,” she added.